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  • Considering Two Monitors? Read This.
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Buying Two Monitors

It is a growing trend, particularly in the tech industry and in young, fresh-faced start-ups, to use two monitors when working. While it can be very challenging to set up at first, many report an increase in productivity after trying to use two monitors. The increased screen real estate and reduced sense of constraint can prove very useful. However, there are a few things to keep in mind before you attempt to use two monitors.

Will This Increase Your Productivity?

Ask yourself: will using two monitors *increase* your productivity, or hamper it? While many people go into the "two monitors" world believing that it will definitely increase their productivity. This isn't always the case.

The types of workflows that are most well-suited to using two monitors are workflows that often require switching between tasks. For example, designers often find the two-monitor approach to be very valuable, as they often switch from text-editors to applications like Photoshop.

How to Do It

Using two monitors can be simple or very difficult, depending on what type of computer you are using. Check the back of your computer, where the slots for connections reside. Are there two monitor slots? If so, then you can simply plug a second monitor into your computer, and off you go. you may need to tweak your monitor settings in Display Preferences in order to ensure that you have the monitors lined up.

However, you may need to buy a splitter. This is a dongle that fits into the monitor slot of your computer, and it allows you to plug two monitors into a slot that previously only allowed one to fit in. The dongle-based approach might require a bit more trial and error in order to determine the order in which you should plug your computer monitors in -- after all, mirrored monitors will be confusing and distracting.

What to Do With Your Monitors

OK, so you've set up your two-monitor workflow. Now what?

Once you've set up your monitors, it's time to get the most use out of your setup as humanly possible. Try to ensure some degree of order, otherwise the extra screen real estate will be *more* confusing, not *less* confusing. For example, keep tasks that are related to one another in separate sections of your screens. That way, your eyes will not need to dart from one end of your desk to another when focusing on a single task.

One more note to keep in mind: try to buy two very similar monitors when buying your second monitor. Two dissimilar monitors will only be distracting and annoying as your cursor will not follow a straight path as it moves from one monitor to the other.

Overall, adding another monitor to your setup can make your workflow more productive and efficient. However, take care to ensure that you do it the *right* way, or you will actually *decrease* your productivity, create a less enjoyable work environment, and it will not be worth the added time, expense, and stress to do so.