I am not working in harmony with my computer

The woes of a web programmer and designer: Trying to work efficiently in multiple programs at the same time. I am using a wide screen monitor and 1920x1080 resolution.

So many times I have a few tabs open in a browser, my ftp program, Photoshop, Dreamweaver and text editor (phpDesigner)… always switching between all of them using locations such as my desktop and navigating between my localhost root directory and the directories within it, back and forth a hundred times. Then back to the /images/folder and do it all again.

Then we have to upload via ftp and upload different files as they are worked on, then back to the browser and refresh to see the updates.

I am okay with all of the above. But all in this shuffle, I am opening and minimizing and resizing windows. Nothing ever seems to be at my fingertips, something is always hidden behind the window I have open… and after a decade, I am sick of it.

What I am looking for is some shortcuts, advice, mods, programs, etc. that will help me manage and organize the windows I have open. Perhaps there is software that helps me shrink down my windows a little bit. Or a mod that knows after I save an image in Photoshop to launch SmartFTP and navigate to the /images/ folder so I can upload it to the server. There is just 10,000 little things I consistently do and I need help with 5,000 of them to work more in harmony with my computer.

Any advice?

OS: Windows 7
Screen Resolution: 1920x1080

I know the feeling!

Personally I make the most of the taskbar as it shows me which apps are open so I can quickly click the icon to bring that app into focus…

I wish I could see the actual window or folder label in the task bar to discern between browser windows or folders open… Something like the Apple bar… As a PC guy I think they have this part right

Investing in another monitor will make a vast difference.

Second monitor does not need to be another big 1920x1080px, just a small poor quality screen to show results and possibly for FTP draggng & droppping.

Or just hook it up to your tv…I’ve used ours for a second “monitor” many times!

Have you ever tried using alt+tab?
It takes some getting used to, but once you get the hang of it you can navigate around very fast.
Just press alt and then tab to switch to the last program you were using. Hold alt and press tab twice to go the program you were using before that, etc.
You do need to remember when you used which application, but mostly you just switch between two applications.
In may daily flow I use the following a lot

type some code in editor [alt+tab to browser] [ctrl+R to reload page] [alt+tab to editor] change some more code [alt+tab to browser] [ctrl+R to refresh], etc

All in all, I think I use the keyboard to navigate my PC around 90% of the time. I only use my mouse a lot while surfing or while gaming.

Also, I have a single monitor running 1920x1080 as well (23") at work. At home I have 2x 22" 1680 x 1050 but I hardly use the secondary one (right now it’s just displaying my desktop background, which is what it’s doing 99% of the time I work here).

I use Alt+tab to switch from one program to the next but I also use at least two monitors. The first for proper work, the second to do research or view things like Photshops panels (so I have the main screen for the graphic itself). Depending on the job, I may add a third monitor but this is rare

Linux has multiple workspaces, so you can have several different “desktops” open at the same time on the same computer. I love this feature, and don’t know how I’d cope without it.

Apparently, it’s possible to add this functionality (free!) to Windows 7, although I’ve never tried: http://www.lockergnome.com/windows/2012/02/28/how-to-create-multiple-virtual-desktops-in-windows-7-for-free/

I currently use 2 monitors but wish I can use 3 at work. But, there is always a solution if you work for it. You can easily write a folder monitoring program that checks for file change then upload to ftp. But, I’m sure many will not go this far and continue to do the old way.