Productivity in the workplace is a common mystery that everybody wants to have a crack at it. Until now, it's been one of the many things I'd like to master as a freelancer. And so in my quest to be an effective freelancer, I guess I found one thing that I can stick and one thing that I would definitely recommend my readers to follow. Go ahead and get yourself another monitor if you are only using one! Here's a few things I've found out that I would like to share with you.

When I first started out with my freelance job, my first computer monitor was a 14 inch AOC LCD monitor. It satisfied pretty much of what I need it for, ie. writing articles, link building work like blog commenting and directory submissions. But as new opportunities have come my way, especially with data entry and shopping cart management, the need for a bigger screen becomes imminent. As you probably have experienced, data entry jobs would require copy pasting of data from a source to a destination database (in most cases) and working on a 14 inch screen presents a big limitation on what you can do and how much space you can allocate for the source and for the destination window. You simply couldn't move as freely as you wish and the Alt Tab short cut to open a previously opened window is becoming too straining to the eyes. Thus productivity is hindered by a big margin.

In a study conducted by John Peddie results show a staggering 42% improvement on productivity with the use of dual monitors. Another study, this time by an NEC commissioned research team at the University of Utah found that people who used two 20-inch monitors were 44 percent more productive at certain text-editing operations compared with people using a single 18-inch monitor.

No less than Bill Gates himself advocates the use of multiple monitors. (I wonder if all Microsoft employees get the benefit of multiple monitors in their workstations) In a CNN Money article “How I work: Bill Gates” disclosed,

“On my desk I have three screens, synchronized to form a single desktop. I can drag items from one screen to the next. Once you have that large display area, you'll never go back, because it has a direct impact on productivity.”

So if you think you are ready to jump in, here are a few things you need to get you started with a dual screen setup.

Video Card

If your current computer setup doesn't support another slot for the second monitor you will have to invest in a Video card. I got mine for less than Php 3000 or roughly $60-70 for a Palit Daytona. I won't go into the detail of installing a video card, but you can check out this link on how to install a PCI Card


Monitor prices have dropped dramatically and with so many options to choose from, you can definitely find something that would fit the budget and the kind of output you would like to experience. I don't really recommend going for the used one as it this will give you more potential trouble than the productivity you may derive from it. I personally use Samsungs 23″ LED which was a generous gift from a client.

VGA/DVI Adapter

VGA-to-DVI adapterOne thing that I didn't like with the Samsung monitor is the fact that it has a DVI port, but it doesn't come with an HDMI cable. You will have to shell out again for the adapter. You can easily find an adapter for VGA output that cost less than a hundred pesos. I bought mine from PC Express.

Third Party Software

Windows 7 has built in support for multiple monitors, but can be limited depending on how you would like the whole system to perform. I bought a DisplayFusion Personal Home License for $35.00 and it's a good piece of software that will enhance your experience with multiple monitor setups.