Mondays are productivity days at SimpleProductivity blog.
A few months ago I read a productivity tip that said I should ditch my second monitor for increased productivity. I was shocked. But as I thought about it, I realized that as with any tool, it’s all in how you use it.
Dual Monitors and Programming
I have two monitors connected to my system at work. I have a very simple set up. One monitor contains my code, the other contains the results of what I am working on. So as I am adjusting things, I merely have to look from one screen to the other to see the results, rather than flipping through multiple windows.
This isn’t restricted to just programming – any time you are doing a cause/effect, you can use the method. Graphs from data, presentation results after effects and publishing software all work well with this sort of technique.
Dual Monitors and Comparisons
Recently I’ve been asked to integrate a piece of code from one project into another. The left monitor has my source, and the right monitor has the destination. I can track and do line-by-line analysis of what I am moving over.
This same technique will work with any comparison between like items (although you may have to force the computer to open up two copies of the same program to make this work).
Dual Monitors and Email
Personally, I don’t have my email open all the time. But that is because it is not a critical part of my responsibilities. My manager, on the other hand, has the responsibility to respond back to client emails within a certain time frame. For him, having the email on the second monitor helps him keep track of what he needs to respond to.
Anything that requires real-time monitoring can live on a second monitor to attract your attention simply by moving your eyes.
Dual Monitors and Distractions
What I have found is that dual monitors can be non-productive when the second monitor is used as a distraction. Keeping up instant message windows, web browsers and other non-essential tools actually is a distraction because you can see every little change happening.
When I have my email program showing on the second monitor, I am distracted every time an email comes in, and I take time to check it. Since that is not part of my job, it is actually hindering my productivity.
What do you think? Are two monitors a productivity booster or detractor? Share below.
Photo by dyobmit