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How to Boost your Work Efficiency

January 16, 2010 4 comments

Update: I have upgraded my system and am now using a Nvidia Quadro NVS 440 (quad display) video card driving 4 x 22in widescreen monitors.  *Depending on how far I sit from the screen, I sometimes feel like I am watching a game of tennis LIVE. Four 22-inch monitors (88 inches) placed side-by-side covers a 160-degree span (measured from the centre of my vision). I’d recommend 17-20-inch monitors instead, as the more displays you have, the smaller each individual screen should be. Unless of course you intend to sit so far away from the screens and use them as a video wall.

This is where it all happens.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to improve your productivity by 25-30%? I realised that when I am producing a piece of work, researching or writing an article, almost 80% of my time is spent flicking through different windows. You know what I am talking about: you have four or five different documents opened at the same time, trying to juggle Internet Explorer, Word, PowerPoint, and Skype with the occasional Facebook as well – with iTunes playing music in the background. That is not a very productive setting and it slows down not just the PC, but your train of thought as well.

I have been working with a multi-screen set up for sometime now and it has improved my productivity by at least 25%. I would never go back to a single screen setup. ‘Once you go dual, you’ll never go back.’ With a multi-screen setup, there is no need to minimize and maximize windows and you can concentrate on being productive. I currently have a dual 22-inch widescreen LCD hooked up to my PC – supplemented by my MacBook and a laptop, making a quad display set up.

 

In case you are wondering, the poster says “PERSEVERANCE – What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” I believe the quote is by Napoleon Hill

If you are trading then it is a must, however traders usually prefer regular LCDs (4:3) aspect ratio as it is a more effective use of space, since with widescreen there is plenty of margin space at the left and right hand side of the screen which are often left unused as websites are generally not designed to fill them out.

Most new PCs are capable of powering dual display if your graphics card supports it. Most graphics cards now have a VGA and a DVI output, which is what I am using for my setup. Alternatively, you can use a USB to VGA/DVI output. It is simply plug and play and can support up to six monitors in Windows (provided your PC is fast enough). It is not for gaming though, but for normal word processing and email, it is more than adequate. Pick up the Rextron USB to DVI for £42, and an Acer 22” monitor with VGA/DVI for £127 pounds from Amazon. NOTE: I recommend that you get the same model/size monitor that you already have as it makes it a lot easier on the eyes.

Next, you might want to speed up your PC but may be on a budget. I’d recommend getting more RAM, it is dirt cheap nowadays – you can easily buy pretty decent 1GB x 2 RAM chips for less than £40. With windows Vista/XP running at 32-bit (your most likely configuration, unless you are a geek), it is worth noting that it only has enough address for 3.5GB of RAM. If you want to add more than that, you need to switch to a 64-bit operating system.

So I doubled my RAM from 2GB to 4GB, which also helped with the extra resources needed for the multi-screen setup as I have more windows opened constantly.

Lastly, I’d also recommend the Windows Wireless Desktop 3000. It is a wireless keyboard and mouse set that plugs into your USB port. It has plenty of programmable hotkeys, and you can open anything from pictures to email, and any programs you desire with a push of a button. This will further drive up your productivity when used with the multi-screen setup. The mouse uses the latest bluetrack technology and apparently it can be used on any surface! It is better than my old wired Microsoft optical mouse, despite the fact that this one is wireless. It does not suffer from interference, which is always the fear when you switch to a wireless input device. I hate using non-responsive mice or those that flicker. I have not had any problems with the Wireless Desktop 3000 and it only cost around £30. This is the one I’d recommend over the more expensive products (by Logitech) that go up to £80, which, in my opinion is no better. This is also designed for Windows 7, but it works perfectly on my Vista.

So here are my tips on how to improve your efficiency by at least 25%. Guaranteed.

  1. Get a second monitor; either upgrade your graphics card or use the Rextron USB to VGA/DVI
  2. Reduce clutter on your desk. Get the Windows Wireless Desktop 3000 and be free of unsightly and clumsy cables.
  3. Upgrade your RAM, remove all unwanted icons from your desktop, organise your files, defrag your hard drive, uninstall unwanted software. Keep your PC clutter free too!

Imagine getting 25% more work done in the same amount of time. I am already thinking of adding two more monitors to my current setup to bring the tally to six screens – command centre. I can watch a video/movie and do word processing at the same time. Or, I can check out social media sites while watching the latest news streamed live on the other screen. Talk about multi-tasking!

 

 

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