Why you should learn to touch type

I see too many people “hunt and peck” the keyboard when they type. For someone like me who has learned to touch type it’s painful to watch to a point where you feel like pushing them aside and just typing for them.

There are many advantages to touch typing and is a skill I think everyone who learns to use a computer should know. It doesn’t have to take up a lot of time either and will save you a lot more time in the long run.

Some advantages include …

More time thinking about actually writing, rather then thinking about typing

Because you don’t have to keep switching attention. Although not as bad for minor tasks, it does increase things like decision fatigue and disrupting your state of flow which are bad things.

More work done faster

If your average typing speed is something like 15-30 words a minute, think how much more work you can get done if instead you learn to type 60-100+ words a minute.

Less chance of RSI

Ironically any amount of time using a keyboard increases your risk of RSI like carpel tunnel for example, but the less time you can spend hunting around for keys and stabbing them with the same fingers, the less time spent typing overall and less pressure on individual fingers because you’re using all of them instead, which means less chance of developing RSI compared to using the same two fingers.

More free time

If replying to an email takes you a couple of minutes instead of 5-10+ minutes, then think about everything else you could be doing in that time.

If you can play or want to play an instrument, it can make you a better musician

This is more my personal opinion rather then something I’ve seen evidence of,  but anecdotally, if you can learn to use a keyboard without thinking then this can be transferred to a piano or a guitar for example.

Learning to touch type

I can’t recommend any specific apps because different people will prefer different types of applications, but I would suggest searching on the Apple Store or Google Play Store for “typing tutor” or “touch typing” apps, or do the same in your app store of choice. Or simply search Google.

Personally I started by just learning to type out a single sentence to start training myself to use more than two fingers, so in my case I learned typing out “Dene is the best” as fast as I could.

The most important part of touch typing is finding your “home keys”, which on most keyboards (the QWERTY keyboard) will be F and J where the little bumps on the keys are. They are there so you can find them without thinking about it or having to search around because you can just feel for them instead.

One resource you might find useful which is intended for kids but still useful if you’re a beginner, try “dance mat typing” http://www.bbc.co.uk/guides/z3c6tfr

Remember

You might get slower before you get quicker if you’re used to typing in your own way, but eventually you will learn to type a lot faster which will save you a lot more time in the future.

Finding the time to learn, you don’t have to spend a lot of time on it. The most important thing is that you just practice, so even if it’s just 5 minutes a day you will get better overtime and again, this will save you a lot more time in the future.

Footnotes

Image credit Magnum K

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