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How To Save 21 Days Per Year By Typing Fast

How To Save 21 Days Per Year By Typing Fast
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Did you know that typing fast can save you up to 21 days per year?[1] This might sound unbelievable, but it’s totally possible.

The average person spends at least three hours a day using a keyboard while doing work, writing emails, messaging, using social networks, etc.

If you increase your typing speed by 20%, you can save up to 35 minutes per day. That equals a phenomenal 213 hours per year. Considering that most people have about 10 hours of active time per day, you could be saving up to 21 days each year!

Nowadays, we spend so much time typing on a keyboard that typing seems like nothing special; so much so that we seldom give any thought to this survival skill, let alone try to improve our typing speed.

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However, bringing your typing speed from the average 41 words per minute (wpm) up to 70wpm or above can actually make a difference.

Slow typers are commonly seen as less capable.

A large part of our day is spent typing. Indeed, not having the right technique can cause more trouble than looking awkward in front of friends or co-workers. For instance, a slow typist may be considered less capable and therefore less suitable for a certain job.[2]

Although almost everyone can type, typing fast is a valuable skill.

Now you might be wondering how to improve your typing speed. Here’s some good news:

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To type faster, professional and expensive training is not necessary.

A Finnish research found that people who had not received training in typing, e.g. those who typed with only 2 fingers, could also achieve higher typing speeds of over 70wpm, although trained typists could reach 120wpm.[3]

Which is to say, you can also type fast — you just need practice, the correct type of practice.

The main factor influencing speed is the stillness of the palm, not the number of fingers used.

Researcher Dr Weir from Aalto University in Helsinki suggests that keeping your palm still while moving only your fingers to reach for the keys is “the secret”.[4]

Keeping your hands relatively steady and only using your fingers to move forward for the keys is the secret, so another finger is reaching for the next key, even before the first one is pressed.

This helps maintain a consistent finger pattern, allowing you to type quickly and effortlessly for longer periods of time.

Now that you know the secret of typing fast, what’s next?

Measure how fast you can type and set a goal for yourself.

The first step is to measure how fast you can type currently so you know where you are now, and to keep track of your progress as you learn to type faster.[5].This should help you set your goal for improvement, and track your progress as your typing speed increases.

You can do this via a quick speed test here.

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Typing can be fun, you don’t have to always take the serious courses.

While there are plenty of free online typing courses, you can make practice fun for yourself by playing typing games online. Here are a few suggestions:

Remember, fast typing does make a difference — it’s 21 days that you can save!

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

[1] Ratatype: Typing speed research: how to save 21 days per year while typing
[2] John D Cook: How much does typing speed matter?
[3] The Guardian: Is touch-typing no quicker than doing it with two fingers?
[4] The Guardian: Is touch-typing no quicker than doing it with two fingers?
[5] Life Optimizer: Save Time by Improving Your Typing Speed

More by this author

Wen Shan

Proud Philosophy grad. Based in HK.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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