How many screens do you need to be happy?


During my first day at text2net, I was asked to complete some basic editing tasks – on a computer with two screens! That was a first for me. I was perplexed. Why two screens?! More than one screen, isn’t that the exclusive domain of real computer nerds only?

You know, the kind that buys “fun” t-shirts with tacky slogans at heavy-metal online stores. And who have a coffee cup warmer connected to their PC via USB, keeping their only warm meal for the whole day appetising.

Admittedly, I do call some band shirts my own and I do entertain a little caffeine addiction – and yes, I’ve worked in content management for over a decade now. Still, never ever would I consider myself a two-monitor geek, far from it. Really!

Yet, there I sat staring at two monitors. And you should’ve seen the thousands of screens in the other offices, I stopped counting them. Nevertheless, despite the massive doubts about where this two (and even more) monitor environment would take my career, I pushed through that first day and surprisingly smooth and easy found my place at text2net. And you know how time flies when you love your work – now that first day is just a distant memory.

From one screen …

You wonder what has happened since? To be sure, I still don’t possess an USB cup warmer, the number of my band shirts is still the same as it was in puberty and I am proud to say my coffee consumption is still below pathological levels, even though the coffee is excellent and free at the office.

But one thing has changed, forever, I suppose – ever so often I catch myself agonising over the fact that I definitely don’t have enough – screens! Not only at the home office, where I had been using only one monitor due to space constraints for ages. No, even at the office with my standard two monitor setup, I was not satisfied anymore. No, I needed more.

… to monitor wall

Every other day I just sit there in silence and cannot contain my fantasies from going wild – so many needs, so few screens: One screen for all the mailboxes and inboxes and activity alerts and pop-ups and messages that need to be monitored permanently. One for the CMS I am currently working on. Better two, since often we have to work in separate systems in parallel. Definitely another one for the numerous Excel spreadsheets we juggle with. One monitor upside down in portrait mode for all the PDFs and Word documents I have to read. Of course, a separate monitor for the ticket system should not be missing either. One for live checks. And just imagine a mini monitor for the internal chat system, wouldn’t that be a dream come true?

Come to think of it: I want no less than a whole wall of screens – at least in the office. My home office is already beefed up – I managed to tuck in two monitors on my tiny desk as is and plans are underway to make room for a third one. And I promise you, that mini monitor – it is just a question of time until I figure it out.

Regarding the USB coffee cup warmer the colleagues got me for my birthday the other day: It also works for tea! Who would have known!