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The secret to task initiation: body doubling (the Mountain of Dread part II)

Updated: Apr 16

"Why are some people so good at getting things done?"


The answer: they know how to manage their emotions and use tools to initiate difficult tasks.


Emotional regulation and task initiation are executive function skills. You can learn how to do both.


Welcome to the summit of the Mountain of Dread!


Yes, this is a good thing. You made it to the top of the mountain by using the I.A.M. Method to manage your emotional state. Now, you are ready to descend the mountain and finish that dreaded task. 


If you missed part one of this series, How to Climb the Mountain of Dread, start here.


Here's a recap:

  • We all procrastinate, and when we do, we need to climb the Mountain of Dread

  • Emotions cause procrastination

  • The first step is to "lighten our backpacks" by managing our emotions

  • When our backpacks are lighter, we can hike to the top

  • The I.A.M. Method is a strategy to lighten your backpack


Like a hiker, the journey doesn't end at the summit. After getting to the top, you need to hike down the mountain (complete the task) without burning out your legs. 


a hiker wearing orange standing at the top of a mountain

In this blog post, I share the secret to task initiation: body doubling.


Ready to tackle the next phase of the Mountain of Dread? Let's start hiking!



Why do I procrastinate? 

Procrastination is an emotional reaction to a task. Typically fear, anxiety, boredom, and/or confusion are the cause.


For me, updating the FAQ section of our upcoming course, Adult EF Skills 101, feels like pulling teeth. Why? 


  • First, I need to log into my email, open a Google doc, and log into the course portal. 

  • Then, I have to open up a special landing page. 

  • Finally, I have to mess with the formatting because the system can be a little clunky. 


Needless to say, making one small change can take up to 25 minutes. 


In a previous post, shared the S.T.A.R.T. Method. The S.T.A.R.T. is a powerful task initiation strategy that makes the hike down much easier. However, sometimes we need a little support. 


white male with long, dark hair, standing in front of a green background, wearing a black jacket

What is body doubling?

Body doubling involves having another person present while you work on a task. This can be a friend, coworker (in person or on Zoom), or stranger in your favorite coffee shop.


This technique helps people with attention and motivation difficulties. It is a powerful tool for people with ADHD or executive function challenges. The presence of the "body double" serves as external accountability and support.


The body double doesn't necessarily participate in the task itself. Instead, they provide a supportive and non-judgmental presence. This can make it easier for you to concentrate and complete a task.


How do I find a body double? 

You can schedule in-person or virtual co-working sessions with a colleague or friend. During a body doubling session, both of you work on different tasks at an agreed-upon location, or while video conferencing.


Remember, you can body double with strangers. Visit a local coffee shop or library and give it a try. If one space doesn’t work, don’t give up. Test out different locations and explore your town. This is a fun and productive way to find the perfect location. 


Additionally, Focusmate is a platform that pairs individuals for virtual, 50-minute co-working sessions. 


Summary 

You've conquered the Mountain of Dread using the I.A.M. Method to regulate emotions and lighten your load. Now, you face the descent: completing tasks without burning out. Here's the secret to task initiation: body doubling. Body doubling involves working alongside others for focus and accountability. You can find a body double through virtual co-working sessions, coffee with friends, or platforms like Focusmate.

 

Want to join our next cohort of Adult EF Skills 101?

We know adulting is HARD. It demands strong executive functions. Luckily, we've made a course to cover the fundamentals so you can make the best of each day. In this course, you will:


  • Learn how to plan your priorities 🎯

  • Learn to get started (task initiate) 🔨

  • Learn how to keep things tidy 🧺

  • Learn how to find and keep a job 👩‍💻

  • Learn how to communicate effectively 🗣️

  • Learn how to budget 🤑



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About the Author

Eric Kaufmann, M.Ed is a Professional Educational Therapist and Certified Executive Function Coach. He is the Co-founder of UpSkill Specialists, an online adult executive function coaching company designed to guide adults in overcoming disorganization, procrastination, and productivity roadblocks so they can unlock their potential. Eric is also the founder of Elevate Learning Solutions, an Educational Therapy practice located in San Clemente, CA, that guides students with neurological differences toward becoming independent and confident students and self-leaders.

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About 👋

Upskill Specialists was founded when two former special education teachers turned executive function coaches decided that adults need tools and coaching to improve their workplace skills and feel confident and empowered. Our mission is to ensure every adult with EF challenges has access to high-quality coaching services. 

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