How Many Monitors Do You Need to Be Productive?

At one point in the history of technology, we needed more than one monitor. But with the advancements of technology and modern operating systems, do we still need multiple monitors to carry out our work? We posed that question to our writers, asking them, “How many monitors do you need to be productive?”

Almost all our writers are usually using two monitors. Damien uses two for programming work as it allows him to open multiple applications and browsers without having a crowded screen. Derrik uses one monitor for what he’s working on and the secondary monitor for the side programs.

Phil finds that using two monitors really helps him with video editing, especially when he’s working on long-form pieces. It allows him to “keep better tabs on the assets like rushes and audio.” For writing and artwork, he uses smaller monitors, preferring 4:3 ratio monitors for text. He even misses the old green text and black screen monitors, noting that he’s old-fashioned.


Judy and Charnita both use two monitors but use a tablet for a third display. Judy does this because she finds jumping around from typing to research annoying and likes to get messages on her tablet or smartphone. Charnita uses this method as she says she has so many things going at once. Her tablet is mostly used to check email and watch TV and videos while she’s working.

Christopher has never done “proper work” with multiple monitors. There was a brief period where he had two, but he didn’t “recognize much of an increase in productivity.” Yet, he notes the second monitor was a distance away, so he wonders if it had been closer if it would have made a difference. Nevertheless, he doesn’t “need” two or more to be productive.

I side more with Christopher on this. I do all my work on my iPad. I use apps that allow me multiple things at once. I have an app that allows me to write on one side and research on the Web on the other. My notifications let me know if there’s something else that needs my attention. However, when I film my entertainment news videos, I record them on my iPhone while I use my notes off my iPad, although I am looking forward to getting a newer iPad which can handle multi-tasking better.

Do you find the same thing with monitors? Do you use two or more monitors to accomplish your tasks? Or do you find you don’t need more than one? How many monitors do you need to be productive? Let us know in the comments section below.

Image Credit: Desk (October 2014), Three Monitor – Home Office