Why I Use a Single 1440p Monitor: A Web Developer’s Perspective on Reducing Distractions

As a web developer, I’m constantly surrounded by technology, code, and designs. In the past, I’ve experimented with various monitor setups, ranging from dual 27-inch screens to as many as four monitors. While these configurations may have served a purpose at the time, I’ve come to realize that less is more. That’s why I now use a single 1440p monitor for all of my web development needs. This minimalist approach has not only helped me reduce distractions but has also improved my productivity, focus, and overall well-being. It is a setup I have come back to, again and again.

A single 1440p monitor offers an optimal balance between screen real estate and focus. With its 2560×1440 resolution, it provides ample space to work on multiple windows, code editors, and design tools, all without sacrificing visual quality. By limiting myself to just one monitor, I’ve removed the temptation to constantly switch between screens, which has allowed me to maintain a deeper level of focus on my work. It also forces me to use that real estate for a single purpose at a time.

16" MacBook Pro on a Satechi vertical stand behind my monitor
A photo of my setup in 2021, when I last transitioned to a single monitor.

Of course, sometimes you need more space, so to further enhance my productivity and minimize distractions, I’ve integrated the Spaces feature in macOS and a variety of keyboard shortcuts into my workflow. Spaces enables me to create virtual desktops, each with its own set of applications and windows. This way, I can dedicate specific Spaces for different tasks or projects, such as coding, designing, and communication. The task isn’t truly done, until the space is closed.

By mastering keyboard shortcuts, I’ve streamlined the process of switching between windows, Spaces, and applications. This approach eliminates the need to move my head or use my mouse, allowing me to maintain my focus and work more efficiently.

The Benefits of a Minimalist Setup: Embracing a single-monitor setup has several benefits:

  1. Reduced Distractions: By limiting the amount of visual stimuli in my workspace, I’ve decreased the opportunities for distraction. This has helped me maintain a higher level of concentration on my work and complete tasks more efficiently.
  2. Improved Focus: With only one screen to pay attention to, I can focus on one or two tasks at a time. This targeted approach has improved the quality of my work and reduced the likelihood of mistakes.
  3. Enhanced Productivity: The combination of reduced distractions and improved focus has boosted my overall productivity. I’ve found that I can complete tasks more quickly and with greater accuracy than when using multiple monitors.
  4. Better Ergonomics: A single-monitor setup reduces the need for excessive head and neck movement, which can contribute to discomfort and strain. By using Spaces and keyboard shortcuts, I can maintain a comfortable and ergonomic position throughout the workday.
An earlier desk setup where I had a seondary monitor in portrait mode
A second screen in portrait mode can be great when using the web inspector

Now, will I ever pull out a second monitor? Sure, maybe if I had a particularly challenging task coming up with a short deadline that I’d have to work on for a week or more, then I might bring out a second monitor in portrait view. But it has been a long time since I needed anything more than this. I fully understand some people will struggle to understand why I like keeping things this simple, but for me it definitely helps staying focused.

While multiple-monitor setups may have their place in certain workflows, I’ve discovered that a single 1440p monitor is the perfect solution for my web development needs. By minimizing distractions, improving focus, and increasing productivity, this minimalist approach has revolutionized my workspace and helped me become a more efficient and effective web developer.

Multi monitor setup with macbook in vertical stand and white speakers on wooden desk
A single monitor setup isn’t for everyone, but for me reducing screen real estate helps me stay focused.

I'm a webdeveloper based in Oslo, Norway. I currently work with web development at Nettmaker.

I would like to change the world, but they won't give me the source…

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