This past fall I used two monitors for about two months. At first, I thought it was awesome and would help me organize my screen and my day. After a week or two, however, I felt myself using the second monitor just for the sake of using it. At the end of the day, I decided that using one monitor is easier, and makes me more productive.
At first, I used the second monitor just for email, so I could work on the other screen. Bad idea. Having email open all the time is the ultimate attention diverter. At time I felt like I was watching paint dry, just waiting for another email to come in. Big waste of time.
Then I switched to using the second monitor as my “always” calendar. That was nice and convenient, but again, a big attention waster and a waste of a monitor.
Using the two monitors to view two documents was not all that helpful either. One, the monitors were different sizes, different resolutions, and had different contrasts. I found myself comparing the two monitors constantly, rather than actually getting work done.
I have been using one boring monitor for two months now, and I love it. Two monitors may impress people, but when it comes to actually using them, it is not worth the trouble or the cost.
(photo: Scott Kuperus)