Hardware can increase your productivity

A few months ago my laptop broke and I decided to buy a PC instead of another laptop.

Transiting from laptop to a workstation / PC comes with certain goodness: with the same price you can afford to have much better specs. If you have not experienced it before, spend a little bit extra on these hardware to significantly increase your productivity.

They are the kind of upgrades that you would regret not having sooner in your life.

Buy another monitor

2 monitors located side-by-side.

Two monitors. This is not me. [Source]

Two-monitor workstation for illustration. This is not me. [Source]

  • When writing things (blog post / report / code) you can write in one monitor and show references – documentation, articles, papers, whatever – in the other. This alone is hugely beneficial as it reduces the amount of windows switching that can interrupt your train of thought. It also frees you up from the occasional need for short-term memorizing needed when recalling the content of your references.
  • Put your favourite productivity tools (e.g. TODO list) in the other monitor so you can constantly remind yourself of the tasks at hand.
  • View those humongous Excel files using both screens together.
  • When playing games, you can play in one monitor and show guides in the other. Or, pretend to be productive by working in something in the other monitor while playing games. (Also applicable to watching movies.)

Buy SSD (Solid State Drive)

Place your OS in SSD and other things (documents, games, music) in a conventional hard disk.

Samsung SSD drive (the one that I use) along with a conventional hard disk drive. [Source]

Samsung SSD drive (the one that I use) along with a conventional hard disk drive. [Source]

  • PC boots up much faster. I can go from powered off to the full desktop in less than 10 seconds (skipping login screen). This gets you started quickly and your mind does not wander to “hmm while waiting should I make some coffee/tea or get the juice from the fridge”.
  • Opening apps are much faster. If you use virtual machines like me, put the VM in the SSD so that your “second boot” (of the VM) also benefits from the SSD. Note that you can always have virtual disks stored in your other hard disk in case your VM needs bigger space that the SSD cannot handle.

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