Boost your productivity with a multi-monitor setup
Here’s a simple productivity hack for yourself and your staff: have multiple monitors.
My desk has three monitors on it; my two main 24-inch monitors, and my 13-inch laptop screen. I use my dual monitor setup for everything, unless I’m working in front of the TV or otherwise away from my desk. So much so that, when I work from home, I have dual monitors there as well!
I just find it so much easier to work in an environment where I can easily compare documents side-by-side or reference one program while working with another.
In this, I am not alone. Studies have actually shown that using multiple monitors increases productivity, although there is no evidence to indicate that having more than two adds any further benefit.
What’s wrong with having only one monitor?
According to the study I mentioned above, issues with single monitor use have been identified as:
- requiring higher mental workload
- increased window switching, repositioning, resizing
- inadvertent opening, and closing of files
- losing track of the cursor, excess navigation, and forgetting to focus the appropriate window on large single monitors.
I can’t say speak to whether or not using only one monitor is more taxing on the brain; but it certainly feels frustrating switching from a multi-monitor workspace to a single screen.
Why is it better to have two monitors?
I could talk for literally minutes about the joys of a multi-monitor workspace. But, all joking aside, it just feels better to have more space to work in.
I can multitask more efficiently.
When I have a limited area to work in, things get cluttered and piled on top of each other. This is true for my digital and analogue lives.
By giving myself room to spread out and manage multiple activities and programs at the same time without shuffling windows one on top of the other, I:
- minimise the number of mouse clicks needed to get things done
- reduce the risk of errors from poor transcription of data from one program or document to another
- stop myself from accidentally closing important windows mid-work.
Setting up multiple monitors
The good news is that most newer PCs will support a dual-monitor setup without any difficulty, although you should always make sure before you commit to purchasing extra screens.
Similarly, any laptop docking station you might be plugging into will support at least two screens in addition to the laptop itself – again, just double-check.
Once you’re satisfied that you can support dual monitors, you need to consider whether you’re going to buy one that is a similar size to the one you’ve got or buy two and upgrade your existing screen in the process.
From personal experience, I would warn against having two screens that are different sizes. It can be disconcerting and make the whole experience less gratifying. It also makes configuring the setup in Windows a little more difficult.
Windows 10 makes it pretty simple to set up dual monitors. I’ve posted a tutorial below.
Of course, you’re always welcome to give ProITS a ring and let us take care of the whole thing for you.