Why am I ignoring my second monitor? A case study in working from home.

Raymond Chen

I’m working from home, which is probably what many software developers are doing right now. My usual work area had been a desk in the corner of the family room, because I didn’t normally do a lot of work from home. Now that everybody is home, that location in the corner of a busy room wasn’t particularly conducive to working without interruption.

I ended up setting up my temporary home office in our spare bedroom, using a large folding table as a “desk”. I bought a second monitor so I could get something that more closely resembled my usual work environment, but I found that I rarely used the second monitor. Eventually, I figured out why.

My two monitors at home were arranged with the main monitor directly in front of me, and the secondary monitor to the right.

At work, I have three monitors on my desk. I use the center and left monitors a lot, but the monitor on the right is connected to a machine I don’t use much, and I got into the habit of ignoring the monitor on the right.

I moved the secondary monitor from the right side of my main monitor to the left. Now I use both of my monitors.

It’s weird how these little unconscious things have such a large effect.

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