Multi Monitor Mayhem

dual monitor truth

From Future Lawyer 19/04/11:

I don't use dual monitors. I am not conflicted about work and play. When I play, I don't hide it. You don't really need dual monitors. You know you don't.

Hmm. I’m not totally convinced it’s as simple as that. There are genuine advantages to a multiple monitor set-up and it doesn’t necessarily follow that one monitor has to be for work and one for play. Still, YMMV.

I have a bit of a love-hate thing as far as dual monitors are concerned; I’ve used an additional monitor at times with my laptop but I’ve consciously avoided going double (or even triple) with my desktop.  I have plenty of space on my desk but I want it to stay that way, and I’m conscious just how much would be taken up by more than one monitor.  I also spend a lot of time moving between computers, so it’s probably as well that I don’t get too cosy with a multiple monitor setup.

I think dual monitors are a genuine advantage for some types of work, but there’s a key trade off with space which I’m just not willing to pay – at least at home. The distraction factor is an issue too; if you can park your mainstream work on your your main monitor, it’s easier to convince yourself you’re still working whilst you switch over to the secondary ‘recreational’ stuff on the other.  And that can play havoc with one’s productivity!

Believe me, I have a hard enough time staying focussed as it is.  Be right back

From what I recall, I’ve found more than one monitor useful when comparing different drafts of contracts side by side for instance, and for cross-checking information from two different sources without having to flick between windows.  Plus, it’s also really nice to have the ‘extra elbow’ room whilst working generally.

Still, whenever I’ve used multiple monitors, I can’t really say that it caused my productivity to skyrocket, though I don’t know if that’s a good or bad reflection on my usual working practice.

Are any members of the ‘sphere out there harbouring any strong feelings (positive or otherwise) about multiple monitors? 

Smile

Comments

  1. I've been using multiple monitors recently while writing research notes for my essay. I have a desktop with large monitor and eeepc tiny monitor, which makes the former better for reading articles and the latter better for typing down the notes. I'm finding that the system works. My desk is fairly large so I have plenty of space to do it all comfortably (and snack, as well!) Other than that I don't really utilise my desktop monitor. But I definitely think dual monitors can come in handy for certain situations.

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  2. Ah, I've wondered about using dual monitors with a netbook before ... I've heard some ppl complain that the onboard graphics on them isn't really beefy enough to run a big second monitor fluidly and there's a bit of lag. Does your trusty eeepc ever skip a beat in this regard? :-)

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  3. I can't see it being really useful to anyone other than programmers or graphic designers. And I mean like 2 big monitors, not supplementing a small screen on your netbook.

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  4. I have two monitors at work - one is usually for answering emails from people I know. The other is for work. I can't cope at home when I log on remotely with the one screen! It's become a habit!

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