Increasing personal productivity is a hot topic these days, and I have heard of all sorts of interesting ideas such as having a stand-up desk, taking daily power naps, and having meetings while walking outside. These ideas all have their merits, and while they may not work for everyone, I’m sure they do wonders for those who gravitate towards them. To me though, the greatest personal productivity booster with the most bang for the buck is a dual monitor setup. It’s a great example of the phrase ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.’ The second monitor opens up a brave new world of productivity enhancements that you won’t fully realize until you actually try it out.
For instance, I typically utilize my second monitor for my ‘static’ applications and widgets – those items that I like to keep a constant eye on such as HUD. By using monitor 1 as my main ‘working’ monitor and monitor 2 as my ‘application’ monitor, I can immediately see when I get a HUD chat, how my HUD Queues are looking, which of my agents are on calls, and even what song is playing in iTunes. It’s also tremendously helpful when I’m working on large emails, documents, or spreadsheets where I need to refer to a different email, document or spreadsheet. I put the document I’m working on in monitor 1 and the document I’m referencing in monitor 2 so that I can have full view of both without having to touch my mouse or constantly ALT+TAB between windows (or Apple+TAB for you Mac users).
When I am working on my laptop or otherwise subjected to a single monitor, I feel constrained and locked in – it almost gives me some weird form of anxiety! Even when I am travelling, I try to find a spare monitor to use so that I can extend my laptop display and feel normal again.
Using dual monitors is a perfect example of a DVR-ish enhancement (patent pending on the phrase DVR-ish), meaning that, like the DVR hooked up to your television at home, you never fully understand how useful it is until you try it. And once you’re hooked, good luck ever going back.
It makes me wonder though…what about triple monitors? Hmm…