One morning I came to work and found that all the keys on my keyboard switched places. No, it wasn’t office magic at all. It was my colleagues who decided that I had to learn touch typing. This is how my journey began.
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I’m a journalist and I need touch typing for obvious reasons. With it, I do not look at the keyboard, I am not getting distracted. This way the work goes faster and the texts come out more often. The same is true for copywriters, translators, editors, and programmers. But even if your work doesn’t consist of pressing the letters on a keyboard all the time, it’s still worth learning to touch type. It’ll help you develop your memory and you’ll be less tired of working at the computer. Read more about the benefits of touch typing here.
How I used to type before
Before my colleagues pranked me, I used to type with two or four fingers. The maximum typing speed with this method is 50 words per minute. I typed even slower — 40 words.
For comparison, the usual speed with a ten-finger technique is 70-80 wpm, and record-holders reach 900. It means that, even if you had already typed quickly, the speed of work will at least double.
So I decided that I would not rearrange the keys and master the technique as soon as possible. It turned out to be much more interesting than I thought.
How I learned to touch type
Selecting a simulator
The first step in learning touch typing is choosing a resource. Google puts out dozens of websites and training apps, but most of them are junk. Good ones can be counted on the fingers of one hand: we wrote about them here.
What was important for me when choosing a simulator:
Design. Using a site with an obnoxious design from the 2000s isn't very enjoyable. It is annoying;
Interface. There should not be anything superfluous in it — I want to open the page and immediately begin to study;
Formats. It’s boring to just type repeating letters all the time. Therefore, it is good for the simulator to have different types of exercises. For example, games, or the ability to enter your own text.
Competitive spirit. Comparing progress with colleagues or friends is very motivating. It's even better if you can create groups on the site and take a speed test together.
A site, not a program. Many resources still exist as ".exe" files. Personally, I'm too lazy to download and install anything in 2021.
Having tried different resources, we realized that perfection does not exist. So the idea to create our own — Typing —appeared. We added training, interface customization, different formats and difficulty levels, thematic texts and a nice design to it. In general, everything to make learning touch typing as interesting and simple as possible.
Every day for 20 minutes
The main rule in mastering any skill is regular training. I know this, and therefore I immediately began to study every day for 15-20 minutes. If you do it less often, the effectiveness drops. It took me about a month to master touch typing and increase the speed from 40 to 80 words per minute.
Not a glance at the keyboard
My prudent colleagues protected me from this danger in advance by rearranging the keys. You can do the same or cover the letters with special stickers or electrical tape. You need to learn to type blindly from the very beginning, no matter how unusual it may be. Otherwise, you will peek at the keyboard even once you master the ten-finger technique.
It was difficult at first
When I first started learning typing, my speed dropped. It was frustrating and difficult because I had to constantly monitor my hands and not make any mistakes. This is very important, speed without precision will give nothing. The repetitive tasks like "jkjk jkjk kjjk kjkj" were also tiring.
Then it became easier
With the touch typing technique, each finger has its own "area of responsibility". It is due to this that high speed is achieved. Everyone is at work, not just the two index draft horses. After about a week, my fingers settled down, and progress went faster. Every time I saw a new personal record, my brain rewarded me with dopamine, and I wanted to do even more.
The path of a touch typer is thorny and covered with bear traps, in each of which I have stepped successively. Be smarter and don't repeat my mistakes.
Immediately type quickly. Increase your speed gradually and take your time. Otherwise, the printing technique will suffer and then you will have to retrain.
Hold hands wrong. The standard position for the fingers is ASDF and JKL. Return to it every time you finish typing a word or a phrase. There are special small ridges on the F and J keys that help to navigate the keyboard. They are intended for the index fingers. If you follow the example of my colleagues and change the keys on the keyboard (yours, not someone else’s), make sure that these two remain in place.
Pay little attention to accuracy. I got to 60 wpm at 90% accuracy. This result is quite poor: there is a typo in every second word. The advantages of fast speed disappear since you have to spend a lot of time on corrections.
Avoid “difficult” keys. You need to learn how to type the keys you find hard to hit in any case. Further difficulties will arise with special characters: %, #, *, | and so on. They are not often found in the text, so if you are very lazy, you can skip them. But true mastery cannot be achieved without them.
What I achieved:
In a month I mastered touch typing — the speed of work increased and my salary was raised. I became less tired while sitting at the computer, and overall I felt better. It's nice to realize that you've learned something new. But there was also one unexpected drawback.
The touch typing lessons pulled me in too much. Even when I reached 400 characters per minute, I didn't want to stop. At some point, I noticed that I was spending two hours a day on training. All in all, blind typing has become my new way of procrastinating. Be careful, it is very easy to get hooked on the dopamine injections from records and achievements.