It’s unfortunate for those of us doing the processor-intensive work of video and computer graphics that we typically disable Energy Saver settings because they can thwart renders. You’d think that the system could tell the difference between an After Effects or Maya render that requires several minutes per frame and all the little pings of low level network activity, but it seems to be a hard problem to solve. It only takes one crucial failed render to make you set “Put the Computer to Sleep” to “Never.” Your displays, however, don’t present this level of difficulty.
True, many monitors don’t have true color fidelity until they have been up and running for 20 minutes or so, but that may be splitting hairs, since it hardly stops you from getting work done. You can set displays to sleep after a certain period, but these are often set to long periods by people who use multiple systems, and with a render they may never trigger at all.
This is a long wind-up to a simple shortcut that was already given in the title of the tip. Just get in the habit of using shift + control + eject when you get up for lunch, a meeting or are done for the day – your displays immediate sleep.
A render or progress bar can still prevent the sleep from sticking, so if necessary you may need to command + H to hide any applications that are showing updates.