Want to become a typing pro?

Back in my day, the old-school way to increase typing speed was in the hands of a vertical book with gibberish scribbled all over it. That book still haunts my memories, reminding me of a time when my words per minute (WPM) scores were measured against other students’ and posted for everyone to see (I’ll defeat you one day Taylor Kidd).

Anyway, I didn’t realize it then, but typing fast and correctly is a skill that has proven absolutely invaluable for every job I’ve ever had. It has allowed me to finish my assignments a lot quicker than I otherwise would have, giving me more time to edit and produce better writing. Improving this skill has also given me way more time to write for myself during my free time.

That said, boosting your typing speed is a skill you should always be improving, especially if it’s part of your job description. Thankfully, there are tons of fun and useful ways to elevate your WPM above the Taylor Kidds in your life.

1. Only perfect practice makes perfect.

You’ve probably heard that practice makes perfect, but that isn’t always the case. If you’re not practicing the correct way, then your practice could do more harm than good. That’s why I always say that “perfect” practice is what really makes perfect, so before you start typing away, ensure that you’re practicing the best habits for keyboard input. This means you need to start using both hands instead of two fingers, and one thumb needs to be on the space bar at all times.

It takes time to adjust, but you honestly can’t have a high typing speed if you’re still typing one key at a time. If necessary, take some classes online or at a school where you can learn how to do this from scratch. I’ll also be providing a link below that can help with this.

2. Be comfortable.

It should go without saying that you work better when you’re more comfortable. The same goes for typing. Make sure you’re sitting up straight, but allow your wrists to rest while your fingers are on the keyboard. Having them in the air inhibits your speed and is just plain uncomfortable.

Additionally, keep both feet on the floor and take breaks when needed. If your fingers or hands start to hurt, take a break! Straining yourself gets you nowhere, but pacing yourself will improve your strength. It takes time, but eventually you’ll need to take fewer rest breaks.

3. Don’t look at the keyboard!

Once you’ve gotten a decent feel for where the keys are laid out, eliminate the habit of looking down while you type. For one thing, it prevents you from visually editing your copy in real-time, meaning more mistakes and more time wasted editing in the end. You’ll also learn the layout of the keys a lot faster, since you are not taking any mental shortcuts.

4. Use online resources.

One of the easiest, free ways to advance your typing speed and precision is to have fun with it. Mashable put out a list of some great resources online that are all free to use (including games!) Pick the one that matches your current level or style of learning and start practicing!

5. Keep striving for improvement.

The worst thing you can do is become complacent. Your typing skill can always get better as long as you’re balancing how fast you type with how correctly you type. Test your speed routinely and set goals for the WPM you want to reach.

Once you’ve reached it, aim higher! Some of the resources above are great for keeping track of this, and nothing is a better motivator than competition. Consider getting some coworkers or friends in on it and see who will reach the farthest.

Whatever you decide to do, remember that typing is like any other skill out there. It requires practice, patience and time. Commit to improving it and you’ll get fantastic results.

You may also want to read: The Secret to Changing Habits Successfully

Featured photo credit: @boettervia Flickr

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