What kind of dream desk setup have you always wanted? Does it involve a large desk, multiple monitors, an amazing keyboard, and an awesome mouse? Honestly, this is something I thought about for a long time when I was growing up. I really wanted my “dream setup” with all of those things hooked up to an amazing computer. Lucky for me I have been slowly building up the kind of setup I’ve always wanted over the past few years. While a two-monitor setup may not be for everyone, I wanted to make a blog post and video dedicated to something that brings me so much joy.
🖥️ 🖥️ Side-by-Side Monitor Setup
The golden type of setup in my opinion is the side-by-side two-monitor setup. While there are other options that may be better for specific cases, I truly believe there are the most amount of benefits with this kind of layout. You can have two of the exact same size or one being larger than the other.
While I personally enjoy having a main 27-inch monitor and a smaller 24-inch monitor on the side for extra screen real estate. Outside of the implementation of my favorite mouse the Logitech MX Master 2s adding a second monitor has done the most for me when it comes to improving my productivity through technology.
In my opinion, the best way to use a side-by-side monitor setup is to have one screen where you focus on your main task and use the other one as an efficient space for much-needed reference materials.
A great example of this would be, having my blog first draft on my main screen and have another browser open on the secondary screen to look at article research, links to products, and possible pictures to place in the article.
I also utilize my dual monitor setup like this to have video editing software on my main screen and utilize the second screen as a place to have file folders open and another browser tab for any reference materials that I need. In my opinion, the best people this setup would be suited for are creative types, students, and the average person in general.
🖥️ Stacked Monitor Setup
A stacked monitor setup is a little more niche than the normal side-by-side setup, however, it does have some practical uses. First and foremost, a stacked monitor setup will take up much less desk space and is actually pretty ergonomic if you set it up right. According to commercial real estate firm Avison Young, “the typical office worker will see their workspace nearly halved from what it was just 10 years ago”.
Due to that reason, workers will need to be able to do more with less space. Luckily, humans do a great job of adapting and it actually has been found that this lack of space has not lead to much of a decrease if any in workplace productivity.
As will be mentioned more in the later section of this article dedicated to the negatives of having a dual monitor setup, having too much screen real estate can actually be distracting if you do not use the screens properly. To those people who would like to use their workspace more efficiently while increasing their screen real estate, a stacked monitor setup is actually a pretty great option.
A small benefit of it, in my opinion, is that it is really cool looking. While I’m usually not one to care about things like that, let’s be honest, having a stacked monitor setup looks like you work at some hedge fund or on a trading floor.
While those jobs also can benefit from a stacked monitor setup, there is something special about enjoying your workspace. If you are looking to add a cool aesthetic to your setup then why not add a second monitor on top?
💻 🖥️ Second Vertical Monitor
As I’m sure plenty of you have seen, just like with a phone or tablet, you can turn your monitor screen vertically or horizontally to fit your personal preference. In my opinion, the second monitor being vertical is actually a pretty viable option.
For those people that have an insane amount of work messages, this second monitor can serve as a great way to read up on what’s going on quickly and efficiently. It also is a solid choice for people who are programmers, bloggers, or anyone else that needs to see large quantities of text at a time.
Less time scrolling for these kinds of people is extremely important and having a second vertical monitor can really help take their productivity to another level.
🔼 The Benefits
To begin with, the positives behind having a dual monitor setup, let’s talk about my favorite topic: productivity. Personally, I believe if you properly use a second monitor without getting distracted by the extra space, you will see at least a 25% increase in your productivity.
That’s a random and arbitrary number I know, however, I felt like I got a quarter more work done once I started working on a two-monitor setup at home.
While it may just be for me, I really feel like I get less work done when I only have one monitor to work with, and the main reason for that is there just isn’t enough screen real estate when trying to get significant work done.
The extra space saves you on the ridiculous amount of alt+tabbing you otherwise would be doing when you only have one screen. Personally, I believe my favorite thing to do with a second monitor, is looking at my main work in the center for a paper, and then have my research and resources on the other monitor.
This way I can directly quote something by copy-pasting the text or paraphrasing in a much quicker fashion than if I had to tab between different articles.
While the option to split the main screen is possible, in my opinion, the cramped view is just uncomfortable to look at and a third reference material is almost impossible to add t the mix with one decent size screen.
Even in the case of an ultrawide monitor, it is hard to find a specific focus point on the screen in my opinion if it is all one screen.
Last but not least, gamers and streamers should have a second monitor because it gives you an extra screen to put your discord, stream chat, or media on.
When the main screen is focused fully on the video game you are playing, it is nearly impossible to use discord or any other chat service efficiently if you only have one screen to work with.
While I won’t vouch for an excessive amount of gaming, the quality of your gaming experience will most definitely go up if you add a second monitor to your setup.
🛑 The Negatives
The negative side of having a second monitor is actually pretty simple for many. More monitors = more money. While this may not be an issue for some, I respect it is a serious issue for many. The fact of the matter is, when you buy more monitors, a bigger monitor, or a better monitor, it is going to cost more money. This negative is just what it is for the most part.
The second negative about having a dual monitor setup is that it can be distracting. The fact of the matter is when someone’s working at the desk they can get distracted by the extra space on their monitors.
It’s kind of hard to understand when you think about it like that but trust me more things can lead to more clutter. As a big proponent of minimalism, I honestly think it’s important to understand that the digital aspect can be overwhelming if we let it be.
Third and most importantly for money a second monitor just takes up more desk space. Many people have a small desk and just like with the first issue of having a second monitor, buying a larger one would inherently cost more money.
The extra desk space required can be mitigated by having a stacked monitor setup, however, the monitor arms required for that are an extra expense in themselves.
✅ The Verdict
If you can just get it. Buy a second monitor. It is beyond worth it in my opinion. There are so many people in this world who could benefit from having a second monitor or having more screen real estate in general. What does may not be the exact best logic I personally do not know anyone that has bought a second monitor and hasn’t benefitted from it.
A great alternative to buying a new second monitor would be to buy it secondhand or actually find someone who is getting rid of the monitor and take it.
In my own personal experience, I had the opportunity to find multiple monitors that I could have taken from other people and I actually did take a second monitor for myself when one of my friends from college was getting rid of theirs.
Then my case when I got rid of the used one I gave it to somebody else when I bought my own second monitor. Since money plays a factor for all of us I fully understand if you would want to take that route.
Once you have that second monitor use it to its full extent, focus on the work you need to and enjoy. While this may have been a different type of blog post I hope that I can help in your journey towards building a better life today.