Monday, March 15, 2021

The Six-Screen Setup for Productivity


A little background into the madness behind my 6-screen setup:

  1. The Microsoft Teams monitor:
    • Yep, a monitor almost entirely dedicated to my Microsoft Teams usage. Meetings go on the right half of the screen near my mounted webcam. The main Teams client goes on the right to read new posts, chat, etc. If I really need to actively work in the client, tho, I'll bring it down to Monitor #2 for a while. Videos or YoutTubeTV that I may wanna watch also tend to go up there. When I'm doing Live Events, like my weekly Cute4Teams broadcasts, the Producer view usually goes full-screen up there.

  2. Main monitor (ultrawide):
    • This is my primary place for actively doing work. With ultrawide, it's like the equivalent of 3 screens. I do my email, browser stuff, etc here.

  3. Peek Screen 1 - Portrait:
    • Number 3 and 4 are both Peek Screens - screens that I don't actively work on, but rather that I put windows on that I want to "peek" at. In this case, I also have it in portrait mode for viewing long lists or reading documents full-screen. On Peek Screen 1, I usually have these apps always running: 
      • YourPhone (for my text msgs, or to remote control my phone [usually for food ordering apps])
      • To-Do (to see and/or enter tasks quickly)
      • Win10 Calendar (so I can always quickly see my next meeting)

  4. Peek Screen 2 - Landscape:
    • Since it's so far to the left, I only put things here that I need running, but will rarely look at much. Primarily that ends up being Spotify, or whatever music app I'm using at the time. It also gets used to run videos - usually instructional videos from something like LinkedIn Learning.

  5. The 2nd PC:
    • While monitors 1 thru 4 are all connected to the same PC, monitor 5 is connected to a 2nd PC. However, thanks to Mouse Without Borders, I can seamlessly move my mouse from Screen 4 to Screen5 to control the 2nd PC.  This monitor is primarily for my 7-year old office buddy when she wants to work on her remote learning work, Minecraft, or Roblox in dad's office instead of her own desk. Otherwise, I use it to watch YouTube TV, or for guests.

  6. Surface Pro with Pen:
    • I'm a pen fanatic. So I need my Surface Pro nearby whenever I feel the urge to grab my pen and write notes. Sometimes my inspiration begins on monitors 1 thru 4 (like some screen shot that I need to annotate. Thanks again to Mouse Without Borders, I can move my mouse from, say monitor 1 to the Surface Pro, then paste the monitor 1 screenshot from the clipboard onto the Surface Pro [usually into OneNote].
On top of all this, I also use Windows 10 Desktops with monitors 1 thru 4 to quickly switch between different layouts of screens. I use 4 desktops: Work Primary, Work Secondary (usually for spreadsheets or BI reports), Personal and Virtual Machines (dedicated to the VMs I run for customer demos).  Does this mean my 4 screens are actually 12??!!  (ProTip: I set Microsoft Teams to "Show on All Desktops" so that no matter how much I shift between desktops, my current Meeting and chats are always there)

Sooooo.... the next time they tell you that you don't need so many monitors - don't believe them. ;)