Surely there have to be some tricks that make using multiple monitors more efficient. Please share!
Except for plugging it onto the mac?
Well, since my 20' LCD screen is bigger than my 15' MBP, I like it to be on the right and configure it so that the smaller screen is basically in the middle of the bigger one:
This way I have two more active corners on the right monitor for getting to my desktop and dashboard, instead of having to go all the way to the left.
Also, while we're at it, I have been struggling since upgrading to Snow Leopard. When unplugging and replugging my external monitor after a reboot or a windows session, the external monitor will simply keep losing sync. I found a trick that is to lower the resolution and progressively increase it again until it works. But if anyone's got a better trick, or else I'll just wait for Apple to eventually fix this.
I hope I'm not spamming here (I'll have to ask a question in the FAQ section to check) but I've just developed an app for exactly this reason: to make working from large / multiple displays more efficient.
The app is Optimal Layout
It gives you keyboard shortcuts to tile groups of windows to fill your screens and to move and resize individual windows.
Well, since Macs have been doing this since what, 1989, there isn't much to say beyond plug it in.
As to how to make good use of multiple screens, that is not OS specific. On my win box at work I have 3 1600x1200 screens, I run a web browser full screen on one (for documentation mostly), my help desk app, several terminals, and a monitoring app on one, and outlook, chat, a tabbed text editor, and what ever else on a third. This works for me, but I'd like a 4th, for that monitoring app, I tend to ignore it too often.
Run your main app (browser?) full screen on the big one, and all the windowed stuff on the small one? What ever works for you. Or, multiple desktops (Spaces on the Mac I think), put all your sticky stuff on one, and the context specific stuff on the other.