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5 Ways To Boost Typing Speed And Accuracy

5 Ways To Boost Typing Speed And Accuracy

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

More by this author

Jon Negroni

An author and blogger who shares about lifestyle advice

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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)

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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