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How to type faster
Writing fast is a high-leverage skill.
To be able to be write sync with your thinking is super valuable. It will improve your output and help with your flow.
Keyboard navigation is a big part of preserving said flow, moving your hands from the keyboard brakes the flow state.
Here are couple of steps to help you hold on to that state of flow, along with the possibility of increasing your typing speed and efficiency.
Recognize where you are slow
This is the most important one to think about. You can improve your typing speed, your efficiency or both. If you can type as fast as you think, but you are always braking the flow by using the mouse, you should focus on using keyboard shortcuts to help you.
If you need to increase your speed and efficiency you can aim to get better at touch typing.
I first recognized that touch typing is something that could definitaley help me increase me speed and efficiency, couple that with increasing my use of keyboard shortcuts and I think that I can improve a lot.
Learn touch typing
Being able to write without looking at the keyboard is great and helps you to be in the flow, as long as your efficenecy doesn't hinder you. Touch typing can help you be a more efficient typer. My aim is to be able to continously write at same time I think. I.e my typing does not lag, so that I can go into a great flow state.
For me this will require practicing, since I’ve build a muscle memory for the way I type and I want to change that.
I’ve been focusing on getting better at touch typing but it is difficult to let go of other habits. What I've struggled with the most is to use my pinky-fingers to type. The more I condition my pinky fingers the more efficient writer I become.
Should I learn touch typing?
Here you can see a couple of links where this is discussed.
- Is it worth it to learn touch typing (old post)
- Should I learn touch typing
- Is it too late to learn touch typing
Here are some screenshots from my training.
These are all in a chronological order.
I've not been as consistent in practicing my typing, but I always get some practice in, so on these screenshots there are couple of months in between.
I can’t emphasize how important this is.
Every time you move your hands away from the keyboard to your mouse it ´costs´ you time. Over time this cost compound and you spend a lot of time moving your hads between the keyboard and the mouse.
By eliminating the need to move my fingers away from the keyboard I can continue my flow state of writing code and/or my blog posts and notes.
Here are shortcuts I use on daily bases, these are for mac users but they are likely available for windows.
- Option + ← / → ==> Move to next word
- Shift + ← / → ==> Highlight to the left and right by holding this keyboard shortcut
- Shift + option + ← / → ==> Highlight everything to the next word
- Command + ← / → ==> Go to beginning or end of current line
- Command + shift + ← / → ==> Highlight to beginning or end of line
- Option + backspace ==> Delete the everything to the end of current word
- Command + backspace ==> Delete everything from this line from the cursor.
- Command + tab ==> Switch between apps
- Command + Option + ← / → ==> Switch between tabs in chrome/vsCode
- Command + W ==> close tab in Chrome
There are a lot of keyboard shortcuts you can use in your daily life. You can find them here
I write a lot of code in VS Code, I tried to use Zen Mode more (Command + K Z -> (esc esc to exit zen mode)) and it forces me to use keyboard shortcuts.
Here are macOS shortcuts for VS Code
I used these typing games to improve my touch typing.
- typist (mac only)
This is a great starting place to learn touch typing and they helped me to build the base I needed.
I started to spend 10-20 minutes per day to learn touch-typing. Sometimes I spent few minutes but spaced it around my day. This is a deliberate practice. Which can be a painful way to get better, but a well known way to get good results.
I feel that I've increase my speed and efficiency, but as with other skills you have to keep in refining them every day!