When I was young I didn’t get to spend much time with my mom. She worked multiple jobs to support us, while I was raised by my grandparents. But she gave me a gift during junior high that keeps on giving every day of my life: the skill of touch-typing.
Mom worked in data entry and later became a bookkeeper and office manager. She knew the value of typing skills because she worked for and with people who did not. She prepared their memos, their letters, and even their resumes when they needed to change jobs.
This was back in the day when a “Corona” weighed twenty pounds and didn’t come with a wedge of lime. I remember the precise pitch of the bell that signaled the end of a line of type, and how the carriage return would shake the table when I was really in the typing groove.
Today we live in a world where we have almost everything we need, except a few extra hours in the day. And that’s what my mom has given me. Time. Not just once, but every day.
Think about all the tasks you do that require the typewritten word. Do you put any of them off simply because you know it will take a great deal of time to hunt-and-peck for the letters? What if you could answer every email in your Inbox in less than a minute each?
It would be time to stop procrastinating!
Learning touch-typing is a bit like learning a foreign language. It takes practice and repetition, but you can master it much more quickly. In just two weeks of daily practice, you can raise your typing speed by 10wpm (words-per-minute) or more. In two or three months you’ll be amazed at the number of things you choose to do NOW versus when you “have enough time.”
What’s your starting point? If you love measurable results, let’s find out what your typing speed is today, so you can get excited about how much time you will save. Head to http://play.typeracer.com and take a spin around the keyboard racetrack.
An average typing speed is defined at 40wpm. There are thousands of successful writers who report typing speeds of less than 20wpm, though. They hunt-and-peck, give dictation and pay mightily for transcription, and struggle through the Dragon Naturally Speaking learning curve to be rewarded by more time spent proofreading the less than stellar results.
When you’re ready to take control, I recommend Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing, Deluxe 25th Anniversary Edition. It’s available for less than $20, and sometimes you can find it as a free download. Mavis keeps getting younger and thinner over the years, but she’s the only typing game in town worth your time. There are more than 400 lessons built-in that will personalize to your needs. Challenge yourself with any of the 16 games, or break up your typing practice using jokes, riddles, and recipes, all while listening to your favorite music.
How much time you save is up to you. This column, for example, is about 600 words. If I was a hunt-and-peck typist it would take me an hour just to type it… never mind the writing and revision. Thanks to mom I average about 85wpm, so that knocks it down to just 7 minutes for me to type this missive. What on earth will I do with an extra 50 minutes? If I’m lucky, maybe it’ll involve something with lime!
Feeling competitive? Let me know your Day 1 typing speed in the comments below and I’ll send you my “Top 10 Keyboard Shortcuts” so you can spend even less time in front of the computer – and more time doing something you love!
FYI: The fastest typist on record is Barbara Blackburn who sustained 150wpm for 50 minutes, and hit 212wpm peak time. She uses the Dvorak simplified keyboard (ie, not QWERTY layout).