Productivity and Multiple Monitors

Productivity and Multiple Monitors

My estimable colleague Rees Morrison this morning has a brief roundup of statistics regarding productivity and multiple monitors.

Project management is tightly tied to productivity, which is why this subject matters so much to me.

Multiple monitors are a boon - an enormous one - if and only if used effectively. They are the third-least-expensive productivity tool you can get for your team.

They pay off whenever you are doing a single task that requires multiple panes (windows), such as the following:

  • Doing research on a case while writing about the case. One monitor holds the document, the other your research tool panes, whether LexLaw1 or the web.
  • Comparing documents. One monitor holds the working draft, the other the comparison panes.
  • Working on a large spreadsheet or a project plan. Drag the window to span both monitors so that you have, in effect, a single 35″ window. Granted, not all that many attorneys take part in these activities... though that's changing...
  • Reviewing a pre-bill, where the original time/billing data are on one monitor and the prepared bill is on the other. (If not enough attorneys are able to work with fiscal data, too much attorney time is spent on pre-bills!)

Various non-attorney tasks also use multiple monitors effectively - movie and music production, graphic design, software development, etc.

The quickest way to kill productivity, as Rees notes, can also involve multiple monitors.

Put EMail on the second monitor, and watch productivity decline. The same goes for Twitter, Facebook, silly cat videos, and the like.

It's obvious that if you put a TV show on the second monitor, your attention would be divided and your productivity would decline. EMail is just a TV show in slow motion.

Indeed, you don't even need the second monitor to suffer the "EMail effect." Tomorrow, I'll write about the first- and second-least-expensive productivity tools.

Read more about Legal Project Management on the Lexician Blog.