How to Use a Body Double

Many of my clients use me as a body double at least part of the time. One client uses me as a double most of the time and told me that he was so happy that someone had come up with the term “body double” as he likes it a lot better than “babysitter”.

As a body double, I am near the person who is doing the project. Often that is all I need to do. My presence helps the client focus and stay on task. I am just a tool that allows them to get important tasks accomplished. I can even do this virtually using Facetime.

At first, some people are embarrassed by this arrangement. They realize that they are doing these chores all by themselves while paying me to sit there. They know they can do the work but at the same time they realize that they won’t if I am not there. This is especially true of ADHD clients.

Sometimes I am a combination of body double and assistant. I may sort the mail, open it, and hand it to the client one piece at a time. The client then does the task that is needed and hands it back to me to file if appropriate. We may chat a bit about what needs to be done but the client actually pays the bill, makes the call, or discards the paper.

A body double does not have to be a paid professional. A friend or family member can do the work of a body double if they understand what is expected of them. If they realize that they are being the best help by sitting near the person but not intruding. They can read a book or work on a crossword puzzle but just by being there the person will continue to work. I have had one client use her sister as a body double while she was the body double for her sister. One lived in Georgia and the other in Texas. They would connect by phone and for one hour would work on projects with just a word or two as they worked to make certain each was on task.

Once a person accepts that a body double can be an important tool to help hem, it can be a relatively easy way to move a project forward.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Closing the Loop – Completing the Task

A lot of clutter in your environment may well come from not completing tasks.

When you work on any project, you want to see the job completed and then put away.

Marilyn Paul in her book, It’s Hard to Make a Difference When You Can’t Find Your Keys, talks about the rhythm of organizing. This rhythm is cyclic. With any task you first get ready for action, you then take the action, this causes a natural disorder, and then you need to restore order. Many people do not do that final step and so have a series of natural disorders building up in their environment.

I come into homes and see piles of laundry both clean and dirty. Those piles are there because tasks were not completed. Dirty clothes are washed, dried, and maybe even folded but the final step of putting the clothes away is not done in a timely manner and so a bit of clutter begins to accumulate. Or a person has a closet with clean clothes and they dress for the day. The clothes get dirty. They may make it into a hamper at the end of the day but then the dirty clothes pile up and cause clutter.

I love to cook and prepare meals from scratch. I am good about getting out the materials and prepping the food and cooking it. What I am not so good at is immediately cleaning up from my cooking mess. I will do it (if my husband doesn’t do it first), but not immediately. So for a while there is clutter in my kitchen.

The same holds true for paper tasks. You pull out your bills or a bank statement or a project you are developing. You complete the task or at least complete a part of it but then you push the paper aside and leave it out on your work area. Now your desk is cluttered and it is harder to do the next task.

I put the challenge out to you. Look around your home and see some hot spots where clutter is building up. Could this clutter be there just because you did not complete a task? The trick to controlling this clutter is to complete each task before beginning another one.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer