Ran across these thoughts on how minimizing your screen real estate might actually boost your productivity:
Having a big screen is a good excuse to stick a Twitter client here, mail client there, have list of files pane constantly open, and in general keep every window at some random size, definitely not full-screen. In best-case scenario you’re just lost in open documents and you’re juggling windows, dragging them to the left, to the right, pushing out of visible workspace etc. More realistic scenario: everything above + each open app takes a bit of your attention, which is counter-productive and annoys you in the longer run.
Two or more screens can be a huge boon to productivity. I use them constantly when drafting documents: it’s such a huge time saver to be able to have a screen full of reference materials and a screen full of writing material without having to switch back and forth. But, when I’m not writing, or when I don’t need to reference something, it’s hugely tempting to fill that second screen up with an email client. Or email and twitter and gchat and news and … . Those potential distractions can quickly turn into major time sucks. Know your tendencies. I’m easily distracted. If I don’t need that second monitor, it stays off.
The quoted post is good, thought provoking advice that runs counter to a lot of the thinking of the last 5-10 years. Now, check out the comments on that page. Half of the substantive comments are “this won’t work for me” or “hey, I use multiple monitors and I’m super productive!” I notice this pattern constantly. Please, people who do this, seriously, kill yourselves. You are insane if you expect a public blog to be written solely for your consumption or to address your unique needs. You’re telling me, you can’t professionally edit video on a 12″ notebook screen? Well, I guess there’s nothing else you could possibly take from that post, could you? Guess you better ignore the thought process behind a technique and tell everyone why the specific technique is wrong, for you. Ugh.