Productivity Boost: Multiple Monitors

So, on my desk, there's a laptop, a 17" screen, and a 23" behemoth of a LCD screen. The 23", I purchased myself at Costco; it was $200, and the biggest boost to my productivity since the invention of coffee.

For web developers - or any complex computer-based task - multiple monitors often lets you lay out your computer desktop like your actual desktop. Instead of having exactly one stack of papers on your desk that you shuffle through, you have multiple stacks for multiple purposes, so you don't have to fish out the right paper from the pile every few minutes.

Taking the analogy to the computer, you might keep your development environment - RAD, WID, Eclipse, Visual Studio, whatever - front and center. It's your most common task, and you want to look at it head-on. But if you have a second monitor, you can put a web browser there, and leave it open, so you can see the output of the code you're writing. Change the code, save it, hit ctrl-R in the browser, and see what changed (or didn't!) If you have a third monitor, you can put the server console over there; that way, there's no shuffling from A->B->C and back again to get this common task done.

Ever cut and paste from one document into another? That gets a lot easier if you can simply see both at the same time.

However, there's one major piece not to be ignored; it was covered well last week by another tech blog: Don't Multitask! Using one monitor to keep email and Sametime open all the time is counterproductive; those will continually distract you from the work you're trying to get done. Same with not-work-related items, keep those for lunchtime or at home, *not* for the second monitor.

1 comment:

mick129 said...

Oh, HELL yes. I love my second monitor. It's a giant Samsung SyncMaster. Hurray for larger workspaces.