Do you type slowly with two fingers? Do you agonize over large amounts of copy editing? Do you try to delegate long typing tasks? You’re not alone. The vast majority of people I’ve come across, even in our technologically advanced world, are slowpokes. The last time I tested my typing speed, it was 120-130 words per minute. Want to know how you can do the same? Implement these 3 strategies below and you’ll be blazing trails in no time.
Raise the Stakes
This is a true story. BELIEVE IT! In Elementary School, I took a computer class on one of those old-as-a-dinosaur Macintosh machines. I didn’t say “Mac”, OK? Those are new. The teachers made us play Number Crunchers, Oregon Trail, and a few other keyboard based games that have been lost to antiquity. But we weren’t allowed to simply play at our leisure. The teachers placed pieces of computer paper over our hands and keyboards so we couldn’t see the letters.
That piece of paper raised the stakes for each child in the classroom. No one wants to lose playing Number Crunchers. And to win, it meant you had to take typing seriously. You had to memorize where the letters were. Winning was everything. If you’re constantly staring at the keyboard while you type, you will never increase your typing speed. You must throw away the crutch of your own vision. Stop looking at the keyboard and start looking at your screen.
You’ll get some letters wrong. You’ll backspace a lot. But guess what? You’re making a very powerful mental connection between correct finger placement. It sounds too easy to be true but it works! Do it.
Find the Rythym
There no faster way to type than to know and feel rhythm. This is the best kept secret of fast typing people everywhere. As you master the placement of letters on the keyboard by not looking at the keyboard when you type, you’ll notice a rhythm begins to develop for each word. For example, find “O” and “K”. Now, place your right middle-finger on the “O” and your right pointer-finger on the “K”. Type the following:
Did you hear that? Did you feel that? That’s rhythm. That’s speed. How fast did you go? Now, add a space after “OK” using your left thumb. See how fast you can do this without making a mistake:
OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK
Beautiful, isn’t it? Each word has an incredible rhythm. As you type words over and over and over again, this rhythm will become natural instinct. Typing will become a pleasure.
Growing up, I used to be a LOT of video games. As any experienced gamer knows, eventually you start using cheat codes. Much of my typing speed came by repeatedly typing the same cheat code words and phrases over and over and over again. Black sheet wall, anyone?
There comes a time when you’ve found some word and phrase rhythm, you know exactly where the letters on the keyboard are without looking, but you’re not getting any faster. You have to push yourself. Typing is like any other activity. If you want to grow bigger muscles, you increase the difficulty (time under tension, weight, volume, speed, etc.). If you want to score better on a test, you increase your understanding. If you want to have faster or more accurate typing skills, you must mentally choose to do so.
If someone walks into my office and I’m in the middle of typing a sentence, I just keep typing. I look at the person, listen to them, and even respond while trying to also finish my sentence with accuracy and speed. This often confuses people but the practice is incredible! I’ll also randomly try to type as fast as I possibly can if I’m re-writing some copy edit or just doing a mind dump. Whatever it is, try to push yourself.
If you implement these 3 strategies, your typing speed will accelerate beyond everyone around you. Long writing tasks will become child’s play. Delegating typing will be unnecessary. And people will be noticeably impressed.