In a corporate office, having two monitors has always been somewhat of a luxury. And with today’s economy, I’d think that most workers would feel a little wasteful having this setup. I personally have always avoided installing a second monitor because I didn’t think the advantages were that compelling. I knew the extra real estate would make me more efficient; I just never knew by how much.
After recently buying a new laptop, I felt compelled to give the dual monitor setup a shot. I now have a raised laptop stand that holds up my laptop next to my main dedicated monitor. While still not blown away, below are the Top 10 reasons I would stick with this setup.
- Video Tutorials – It’s great to be able to watch an instructional video in full screen mode, pause the video, then move directly to another screen to replicate what you saw. This boost can also be utilized with video games as well: you can be reading an online FAQ while playing your favorite role playing game, which typically takes up your whole screen.
- Website Programming – Any programmer who has had to make the final touches to a website can understand the benefit of this feature. Makes you much more efficient and significantly reduces the number of releases you need to create.
- Widget Farm – Remove all your widgets from your sidebar throw them all on your extra monitor. That way, you aren’t limited to the small sidebar space that Windows and Google Desktop give you.
- Email / Calendar Monitoring – Having held a corporate job for a number of years, I’m used to having my email and calendar running at all times. However, now that I have two monitors, I don’t need it to fill my whole screen. Putting these items on an auxillary screen is a great way to enhance productivity while still satisfying my obsessive need to be “online.”
- Version Control – Having two monitors makes comparing two similar files a much easier task. Typically the side by side comparison tools within programs crop the screen too much and are very clunky to use. Now if only we could get synchronized scrolling with the two monitors…
- Ad and Commercial Diversion – When we watch online videos or TV shows, we’re usually forced to view an ads that are of no interest to us. Therefore, it’s great to simply turn your head and start reading the other browser you’ve opened. I know it’s really only saving me a second or two, but it’s still an improvement.
- Winamp Visualization – Seeing your music in visual format is always cool at first, but in the end, it never ends up being worth the real estate. I’d usually just turn the visualization off and use my main screen to stay productive. Now with two monitors, I can keep the visualization going while reminding myself of simpler times.
- Download Monitoring – If you’re running JDownloader, Bit Torrent, or Limewire, it’s great to have another screen to see how your downloads are going. Most of these programs have been upgraded to a “set it and forget it” functionality, but you’ll have occasional times where you’ll need to go in and make a manual touchpoint.
- Download Dump – Many of us like to download files directly to the desktop. The problem is that many of us tend to neglect the files after a while and our desktop becomes a mess. By putting all your downloads in one relatively clean monitor, you’re more encouraged to clean up and organize the mess.
- Pseudo Digital Frame – It’s a cheap alternative, I know, but even if you’re doing absolutely nothing with your extra monitor, it still can serve a purpose. Being able to see background image of your loved ones is a simple yet effective improvement to your workspace.