One monitor or more for increased productivity?

Multiscreen computer setup

I work in an office a couple of days a week, where I have two big monitors. The rest of the week I work from home, where I have two big monitors.

Sometimes I work at coffee shops, co-working spaces, and on the road, where I only have my 13″ laptop monitor.

I’m not sure if I’m more productive using two monitors or one.

The easy answer is that productivity is increased when there is more screen real estate. More screen space equals more room to do more work, right?

Again, I’m not so sure.

I find sometimes that having one smaller screen keeps me more focused.

Having one screen keeps you zeroed in on that one task in front of you, with no where else to go.

When I have a second monitor, I typically place Slack, email, Skype, Hootsuite, and other similar tools on that screen. While those apps are important for me to to stay up-to-date with my team and other things that are going on, they are mostly distractions that get in the way of me doing real work.

Even having another Chrome browser tab open is sometimes enough to be a distraction.

When I’m writing a blog post where I need to refer to research that’s on another website, two screens certainly come in handy.

And of course, I’m in total control of what apps I put on the second screen.

But sometimes it’s better to not have options at all.

What do you think? Are you more productive with two screens or one? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments.

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This is day 33 of my experiment to blog for 30 consecutive days.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

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