Woman working with dual monitors.

Doubles anyone?  A few weeks ago I added a second monitor to my desktop.  It was really easy to setup with my MacBook Pro.  I simply connected the new monitor into the port on my laptop and plugged it in.  After “arranging” the desktops how I wanted to view them in my System Preferences, I was ready to go.

Stop the Switching & Toggling

I decided to set up the second monitor while I was writing a workflow process for a client.  The second monitor made it easy for me to view my handwritten notes (in Evernoteon one screen while drafting the process in Word on my laptop.  I quickly found this was so much easier and faster than switching or toggling between windows, I have also tried splitting the screen for this type of work, but find the space is just too small to work with easily.

Some Ways Dual Monitors May Improve Your Productivity

There are tons of ways you can use dual monitors.  For example, you can email someone while viewing or cutting and pasting the information needed for the email on another screen. You can easily reference a budget or worksheet while authoring a summary.  Using dual monitors also makes it easy to work within several different applications at the same time.  They also enable you to review and select information from someone’s email to use in a write-up or correlating correspondence.  I would love to hear how you use your dual monitors to get more done.

Not a Tool for Multi-Tasking

A word of caution: I don’t recommend you use the dual screen concept to multi-task. For example, you don’t want to be watching a video while working on a document or composing an email. Likewise, you wouldn’t want to be participating in a video meeting and working on the other screen.  Not only will you be impacted from an attention deficit perspective, but I also guarantee you the others in the meeting will see you’re not engaged in the meeting on the screen.

If you’re feeling a little intimidated with the technical setup, don’t fret.  You can find many videos out there to walk you through the process of setting up your second monitor.  Here are basic instructions for Macs and here for PCs. Directions will vary slightly from monitor model to monitor model, but virtually all modern monitors are enabled for the task.  If you have an iPad and are looking for a dual screen, you might check out the app Duet, which works with Mac OS and Windows.

Increases in Productivity Can Be Significant

I believe I experienced a 50% increase in productivity when using the dual monitors for the workflow project.  That’s significant.  It’s not going to be the magic bullet for all of my work, but I can already tell a difference in my projects where I use mulitple applications.    Consider ways it might make sense in your work.  I’d love to hear from those of you enjoying similar gains with the dual monitors!  Contact me at sara@configurationconnection.com or simply leave a comment below.

Sara Genrich is an Organization and Productivity Consultant, an Evernote Certified Consultant and the creator of the Organizing@Work for Success Workshop.  She’s committed to providing real-life solutions so her clients have time to focus on the things that really matter.

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