This is relevant to you all because we all know how you feel about multiple monitors. You will recall, before we get into the debate, that dual monitors are critical for success even if you are working on the weekend poolside. PwC realized it could suck the life out of its grunts in half the time with dual monitors years ago, and McGladrey knew long before that hauling around a spare monitor just made more sense than plebe-ing around with an amateurish single monitor setup.
As the price of computer monitors plummeted over the last decade, studies showed that increasing display size increased people’s productivity. It didn’t seem to matter that the research was sponsored by Dell and NEC, among other monitor manufacturers. Now two-monitor setups, once the rarefied domain of Wall Street and Silicon Valley, have become de rigueur in office parks across America.
But what if we’ve all been duped? What if more monitors and bigger monitors actually detract from, rather than improve, how you work? What if, rather than more space to get stuff done, what you get from a larger display or two displays is more freedom from work — more room for Twitter, email, chatting and all the other digitized diversions that conspire to get you fired?
In a switch that amounts to heresy among some techies, I’ve become a two-screen skeptic. Two months ago, about five years after becoming an ardent proselytizer for the Church of the Second Display, I turned off the extra screen on my desktop computer. At first, the smaller workspace felt punishingly cramped. But after a few days of adjusting to the new setup, an unusual serenity invaded my normally harried workday. With a single screen that couldn’t accommodate too many simultaneous stimuli, a screen just large enough for a single word processor or browser window, I found something increasingly elusive in our multiscreen world: focus.
This CPA exam candidate might have a major problem with this suggestion. Because everyone knows just one monitor means you just aren't trying hard enough.