In the pencil and paper world, how often do you find yourself referring to one book or document while working on another? Hand-copying a recipe from a book onto a piece of paper is one example. How would you arrange your materials? My guess is that you would lay the book and the paper side by side. Never in a million years would we consider placing one on top of the other and constantly swapping positions as we read from the book and copy to the paper. Why should things be different in our digital world?
How many times do you find yourself copying from document and pasting into another? How often do you work on one electronic document while referring to another? Are there times when you need to refer to two websites simultaneously? How to arrange your work in these cases?
If you are like most people, you wind up minimizing and maximizes one window, then the other. You may reduce the width of each window in an effort to view both on the same screen. What happens far to often is that we simply print the document we are referring to and lay it beside the monitor as we work on our other document. There’s got to be a better way, and there is.
If placing our documents side-by-side works in the pencil/paper world, then its logical counterpart in the digital world is to place two monitors side-by-side.
After having read of the benefits offered by a dual-monitor arrangement, when I changed positions from the principalship to a central office position, the one thing I requested was a second monitor. I could not believe the productivity boost this arrangement offered. I found myself printing far fewer documents. I could work on a document while referring back and forth e-mails or my calendar or a website.
After retiring from the school system and setting up my home office, a new computer system featuring dual monitors was at the top of the list. After tasting what’s it like to operate with two monitors, I would hate to work any other way.
If you want to make the move and need to know the next steps, here is an excellent article.