When I first started working remotely, I spent months fiddling with my workspace settings, trying to get everything right: desk, monitor brackets, webcam. I couldn't help myself.


Vertical Monitor Setup The Intelligent Investor
2022 Vertical Monitor Setup - how to choose?

As a professional whose career revolves around making people productive, I think about it a lot.

I was interested in flipping the screen to portrait mode, because developers use it by scrolling through heaps of lines of code. They seem to know what they are doing and I decided to give Vertical Monitor Setup a try too.

Setting like a chef

This exercise reminded me of a principle I learned from designers when they try to optimize and utilize kitchen space as much as possible. Think in terms of triangles.
In a restaurant, worker tasks are modeled as movements between three points. For example, during a shift, a chef makes hundreds of transitions between the grill, cutting board and serving: back and forth many times in all possible combinations. The same is true for the cashier: he oscillates between the cashier, the drink cooler, and the shelves of chips, over and over all day.

Vertical Monitor

A truly thoughtful design takes into account the movement between these spaces and tries to reduce the number of steps and traffic jams.

The same idea can be applied to the job of dragging windows or even your eyes across the desktop. Although physically less demanding than walking on your feet, the unnecessary cost of switching creates cognitive fatigue and wastes time. My experience is that an organized space makes me more productive for longer stretches and gives me a sense of control.


Let's summarize and highlight the main thing:

  • learn keyboard shortcuts in your favorite apps, like adding a hyperlink in Slack or creating a task in Asana;
  • buy a better mouse so you have more control over space (like the Logitech MX Master 3);
  • manage notifications that try to distract you;
  • consider a focus app like Endel to help you get back into focus (or sleep) faster and stay there.
  • See also Wiki for some details.