It is sometimes so challenging to stay focused and productive when distractions are just a click away. Believe me, I know.  That is where body doubling comes into play (or into work as the case may be). But what is body doubling?

Even if those distractions are other important work tasks, if they take you away from what you need to be doing now, they are distracting. They will prevent you from finishing the things that you need to get done.

Virtual coworking and by extension, body doubling, has completely transformed my work life and perhaps it can do the same for you.

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What is Body Doubling?

If you are asking yourself  “What on earth is body doubling?” Don’t worry, I am not asking you to clone yourself or gain a lot of weight. 

Body doubling is simply working alongside someone else to help you stay focused and boost your productivity. It’s like having a “study buddy” or “workout partner” – their presence alone can give you that extra motivation to keep going. The slightly more scientific term is the  “proximity effect.”

The role of the body double (or body doubles) is not to advise, strategize or even check up, but rather just to be present and involved in their own task. 

Its origins can be traced back to social learning theory. Over time, it evolved from study and work groups to coworking spaces and now to virtual coworking, where you can get the benefits without having to leave home. 

Women happily working on a laptop screen - what is body doubling and coworking

How Does It Work?

Think about it: when we’re alone with our thoughts and tasks, it’s easy to fall into the trap of procrastination and distraction. But when someone else is around, suddenly we become more accountable and mindful of our actions.

A virtual coworking session works similarly. You join a video call with other entrepreneurs (or even just one), and you all commit to working together during that time. You each work silently on your own project or tasks with a quick check-in at the beginning and end of the session and in our case, a silent chat check-in (just to bring you back to what you are supposed to work on in case you wander off) after the first hour. 

How and Why Does Body Doubling Work?

Now, let’s talk about the good stuff – how this magic trick helps us overcome distraction. The psychological rationale for body doubling’s effectiveness may be rooted in multiple theories and concepts:

Social Facilitation

People tend to perform better when they are in the presence of others. This holds especially true for simple tasks or activities that individuals are already skilled at. This is where silent coworking session shine. 


When working alongside others, we feel a sense of social responsibility to remain productive. We don’t want to let down others (especially those who are present), so we’re more likely to stay on task. We don’t want to waste the time of the other people who’ve shown up to do their own work. 

Personally, declaring I am going to do something in public almost guarantees that I won’t do that thing. But if I say I’ll work on it at the beginning of a coworking session, and then do that immediately, I am very likely to do what I said I would. 

Respecting Your Schedule

I’m sure you’ve heard the advice to schedule when you will work on a task that you are procrastinating on. 

It sounds like such a sound plan. It should work. 

But for me, and others like me, scheduling to work on a specific task backfires. Perhaps at some level if I schedule it (or declare it) I feel like I’ve already done the thing and I never get around to doing it. 

In coworking sessions though, I agree to meet with others. And so I show up. And I do the work. I have this two-hour appointment. I may as well get done what I said I would get done since I’ve already blocked off this time.

Routine and Structure

Regularly scheduled coworking sessions become a habit and remind us to prioritize our most important tasks. Routine is essential for those who become easily distracted, even when we rebel against the routine nature of a routine. 

Having and Being a Role Model

Others may become your role model as  you see them working on their own task. You may be inclined to be a role model for others at the same time. This means you have to stay on task to be that role model. 

Mirror Neurons

These specialized neurons in our brains fire both when we perform an action and when we observe someone else performing that same action. This means observing someone else being productive can stimulate our own productivity. This relates to several of the points above. 

Mood Improvement

Working with others can boost overall mood by providing social interaction and reducing feelings of isolation common in remote work scenarios. Planned social times aligned with but separate from coworking sessions, allow for great social interaction without negatively impacting productivity.


Sharing our struggles with others makes them feel less overwhelming. Having a community of like-minded, brilliant entrepreneurs to turn to  when no one else gets what you are going through, is an amazing advantage.

Networking and Other Opportunities

Sometimes virtual coworking, including the Coworking Cooperative Membership, includes business benefits beyond just coworking sessions. These can include providing  special training, featuring your business in social media and elsewhere and having a great network of other entrepreneurs to rely on.
These added perks can directly affect your productivity by making what you do have more impact for the same amount of effort.

I Read it on the Internet so it Must be True

So, I’ve told you about some of the great benefits of body doubling and coworking. But where is the proof?
You can see anecdotal proof from my members on the Wall of Wins but you can also read more about body doubling on legitimate medical sites. Most of the articles talk about body doubling specifically for those with ADHD or autism, but it can work for anyone who is easily distracted.

Medical News Today has a great look at body doubling, as do Psych Central and HealthLine and even major news outlets have reported on the benefits of body doubling.

How to Get Started

Excited about the idea? Great, let’s get you started.

There are two ways to start coworking: Set up your own coworking sessions or join an established community (such as the Coworking Cooperative Membership) that has done all the work for you.

Setting Up Your Own Coworking Group

Setting up your own coworking group is not particularly difficult. The difficulty lies in getting a group of dedicated coworkers to commit to meeting regularly and then to actually do it. 

What you need

There is not much that you need to create a coworking group. You will need 

  • A virtual meeting space (Zoom, LiveWebinar, Butter)
  • A way to keep in touch with members (Facebook group, email list)
  • A LOT of patience (read on for more)

What you need to do

  1. Find people who are interested in coworking and are willing and able to commit to regular sessions. 
  2. Schedule times that work for everyone. 
  3. Set up your coworking rooms and make sure that people can access them. 
  4. Show up for coworking sessions and hope other people show up too. 

This list seems very simple and it is. However, do prepare to be alone for many of the sessions. People often commit to sessions but then life gets in the way and they have to cancel.  I cannot tell you how often I have sat waiting for others to show up only to be waiting for the whole session. While in theory, this is fine, in reality it usually means that you will get very little done as you anxiously keep checking to see if people  have joined yet or not. 

Join Coworking Cooperative Membership

The other alternative is to join the Coworking Cooperative Membership and just show up, knowing that there are regular sessions and that you will never be alone. This makes it super easy to just get down to work  and get stuff done. 

We have coworking sessions almost every weekday of the month. 

When you join the Coworking Cooperative Membership, your steps to coworking success include:

  1. Attend coworking sessions, be more productive and get work done, even if you get easily distracted. 

Other benefits and features of the Coworking Cooperative Membership:

  • We like to have fun: Register the word of the day to  “Cowork to Win”.
  • Celebrate your accomplishment for the day with everyone. Post your Win to the “Wall of Wins” and let me share it with the world. 
  • Come to the regular “Water Cooler” sessions to just chill and  chat with others who get your struggles. 
  • Attend exclusive workshops and challenges exclusively for members. 
  • Join additional Interactive Coworking Sessions where we get together to work on and more fully understand specific tasks (like implementing GA4 and other tools in your business).
  • Get access to tool that I use in my business.

Body doubling in virtual coworking sessions has been an absolute game-changer for me as an easily-distracted entrepreneur. Remember, we’re all in this together, supporting each other on our journeys toward productivity and success! Happy coworking!