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Mercedes Oliveira

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Double your productivity for less than £200
July 19, 2009

Double your productivity for less than £200

No – I’m not making some wild ‘TV Shopping Station’ sweeping statement.  I’m going to talk about something very tangible that will have an immediate impact on the way you use your PC.

Whenever people come to our office and they see our Computers, they are often amazed by how we use them.  I never thought that we did anything spectacular – but it turns out that a lot of people disagree.

What we do isn’t new.  And it doesn’t cost a lot – but the impact is huge. 

What do we do?   … we have two screens on every computer!

With two screens, side-by-side, we’ve doubled the space that our computers can use, and that we can see.  I can run Outlook on one screen, then move the mouse sideways, and look at my calendar on the second screen – so when I’m responding to an email to organise a meeting, I can see my calendar without needing to ‘minimise’ the email I’m writing.

Likewise, if I’m copying information from a spreadsheet into Word, then I can have both applications open at the same time, one on each screen.  My Twin Screensmouse moves seamlessly between the two, and my eyes can see both screens at the same time.

Cross referencing becomes a piece of cake.  Operational software can remain in line-of-sight so that any warnings/alarms are seen immediately.  Dragging and Dropping files between two windows is safer.  And it’s easier to keep an eye on the sports scores whilst writing an article for our next newsletter during the evening!

I’m sure you can think of endless other situations where it would be useful to have two windows open at the same time.  Just think about the number of times that you minimise windows to switch back and forth between two or more programs.  I bet, if you really looked at it, you’d be amazed at how many times you do it.

So – people are usually blown away by such a high-tech solution – even though it’s not anything new (I’ve been using twin screens for the last 10 years!). 

Their next thought is that it ‘must be expensive’.  I’m afraid that’s another myth.  These days a flatscreen can be picked up for less than £100 (slightly more if you want a large widescreen model).  And, the other item you need is a graphics card.  Again, these are not expensive – you can get a USB one for £50/£60 – or for better performance and reliability, you can have one fitted to your PC for less than £100.

OK, I accept that not everyone has £200 to throw at every PC at the moment.  Especially if you have 30 people working for you.  Cash-flow needs managing, and some expenditure can definitely wait.  And, two flatscreens take up more desk space than one (will you be able to see your colleague if you both have two monitors on your desks?). 

But, if you think about the amount of time you’ll save by not having to switch between windows, then most people will see a payback within very little time (depending on your hourly rate, you could get payback within a matter of weeks!).

Next time you reach for the minimise button, or switch back to a previous window, remember this article.  You never know, it might be the best return on investment you ever make in IT.

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