While writers rarely use demanding software applications, they use project management platforms, SEO tools, conduct lots of research, etc., making it challenging for them to access and display all their tools at the same time — that is, if they’re using a single monitor.
That is why, with the myriad of online tools needed in the writing process, even seasoned freelance writers can benefit greatly from using two screens.
If you’re thinking twice about getting an extra screen for your work setup, consider the benefits you can enjoy from using two monitors.
Segment Your Tasks Better
A second screen allows you to sort and organize your files without having to move or minimize certain windows. With two monitors, you can separate your main task (writing) and put all other secondary tasks on the other screen.
For example, you can conduct research on one monitor and have your Word file ready in the other. Two monitors also save you the effort of opening numerous browser tabs and going through all of them when you need to go back to a certain website. You can also open all your communication channels, such as your email, Fiverr inbox, Skype, or Slack for whenever you need to talk to your client or team on the other monitor without doing a lot of back and forth to access them.
Segmenting your tasks lets you keep track of what you’re doing and what you need to do next more seamlessly and efficiently.
Stay Focused On Your Text Editor
Having two screens helps you focus on writing since the chances of getting distracted by other apps, websites, and more become minimal when they’re on a different display.
Dedicating one monitor to writing also means you don’t have to hide windows and tabs or change your screen when you need to switch to a different application. A single-screen increases task swapping, and in turn, also increases your cognitive load. In simple terms, cognitive load is the amount of effort your brain has to put into learning information. Think of it this way: when a computer runs too many programs simultaneously, its performance slows down. Similarly, too much information can overexert our brains. When we tire our brains, we lose focus.
To help you get in the zone, try using a distraction-free text editor on your main screen. A good example would be ZenWriter. It provides a full-screen and distraction-free writing experience complete with calming music.
By using two monitors and distraction-free text editors, writers are able to focus more on putting words on paper, and not on switching between tasks or overloading their minds with too many tasks and information.
Have Everything You Need in Front of You
Jon Peddie Research found that workers can increase their productivity by 42% by using multiple displays. The figure highlights the value of using more than one screen for writers since it makes work more efficient.
Multiple displays give more screen space to open all the applications you need to work and be able to glance easily at information. With everything readily available, you can go through files or applications seamlessly. For instance, you can easily drag and drop files from your folder to your Fiverr account when you need to send files to your clients. When editing, you can split your screen to compare documents or to have a full view of the document you’re proofreading.
You can even use a desktop organizer tool, such as Declutter by Setapp, to sort and easily get all the files and applications you need right on your desktop.
With this, you’ll have everything you need, such as your writing tools, apps to help you with research, and others without having to go through unnecessary programs and windows where distractions lie in wait to trap you.
While there is value in using a larger screen or a single, widescreen monitor, it does not give you the same sense of compartmentalization that you get from using two monitors. Separating your Word documents signals you to prioritize what’s in front of you. Moreover, it is often cheaper to use two screens compared to one large screen, which not only saves you money but also time since it makes you more efficient and productive.
Avoid putting non-work-related applications (like YouTube) on your second screen. You defeat the purpose of using two monitors by doing so and will only keep you from focusing on your work.
To keep you from getting distracted, install productivity browser extensions that block sites. That way, even if you are tempted to type the domain on your browser’s address bar, you still won’t be able to open the site. Genius, right? Reliable website blockers such as StayFocusd is an excellent tool you can use to keep online your distractions at bay.
Enter the list of sites you want to be blocked, click the “Add Blocked Site(s)” button, and you’re pretty much good to go. Even if you enter a blocked domain on your browser or click a link that directs to the website, the site still won’t open.
Having two monitors and installing website blockers are some of the best foolproof ways to keep you focused on finishing your writing tasks. You’ll find it easier to concentrate on putting words on paper and increase your overall productivity.
Working on a single monitor is perfectly fine and a lot of the time, it gets the job done and on time. However, there is undeniable value in using two screens, not only for writers but other related work as well.
Adding another monitor allows you to organize your application windows, sort tasks, and improve your overall productivity. It’s a simple desk hack to improve your focus and efficiency. Freelance writing takes creativity and concentration so help yourself produce the best results by using two displays and see an increase in your efficiency. Not only will this improve your output, but it can also make for happier clients.