With a single monitor you’ll find that you can only look at one program at a time, and you’ll be switching back and forth through applications all the time. However, if you have dual monitors (possibly even three) you’ll find that while your looking at one screen you can be typing on the other screen – this is a huge productivity booster.
Last July I wrote that two monitors are definitely better than one, the NY Times recently shared an article (with research to back it up) on this as well.
Here’s a few things you can do with two (or more) monitors:
- Monitor your Tweet (or other social feeds) in a dedicated monitor
- Read online articles on on monitor and blog about it on the other monitor
- Monitor a video feed on one monitor and delete your email on the other monitor
- Participate in a live video feed on one monitor and get work done on the other monitor
- Put “pending” items on one monitor and work on current work on the other monitor
- Let time intensive tasks run on one monitor and work on the other one
- Check out your closed circuit security feed on one monitor and get work done on the other monitor
- Run a calculator, task manager or other productivity application on one monitor and work on the other one
- Let others watch something on on monitor while you get work done on the other monitor
One study, by the University of Utah, found that productivity among people working on editing tasks was higher with two monitors than with one. The study was financed with about $50,000 by NEC Display, which had hoped to find evidence that companies should buy more monitors to increase productivity. (Other tech companies also promote multiple displays — one Hewlett-Packard ad declares that “two is better than one.”)
The author of the study, James A. Anderson, a professor of communication, said he had not been influenced by NEC’s financing. He said he uses three monitors himself, but also said that it was hard to generalize about whether more monitors are better.