Learning to type fast and without errors is one of the most essential skills that you can learn — but if you didn’t learn how to type in school, it can be a difficult one to master.
If you want to learn how to type faster to advance at your job or find a better position in the future, here are a few steps to get you pointed in the right direction.
As with most things, your posture and position are important. While you’re learning to type, make sure you sit up straight with your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle.
Position your computer screen between 18 and 30 inches from your face to reduce eye strain. Your wrists should sit comfortably on the desktop so you can lightly rest your fingers on the keys.
Learn Your Home Keys
Up to 107 keys compose a standard QWERTY keyboard. While you will learn about all of them in due time, if you’re learning to touch type properly for the first time, you only need to focus on eight of them — the home keys.
On a QWERTY keyboard, your home keys are A, S, D and F — which will be utilized by your left hand — and J, K, L and ; — which will be used by your right hand.
It’s usually easy to figure out where to place your fingers. The F key and J key will typically have a raised button to indicate that these are the start of your home row for each hand.
Before you start taking typing lessons, one crucial step is to find out where you currently stand. Using the touch typing techniques, see how fast you can type.
Once you know your current adjusted words per minute — how many words you type minus the errors that you made while typing — it’s easier to see where you need to start with your typing lessons.
If you don’t have a typing program, don’t worry — plenty of online typing tests can help you judge your speed.
Don’t Get Distracted
It’s easy to get distracted while you’re on the computer. Typing lessons aren’t exactly riveting. Take steps to ensure that you don’t get distracted while you should be focusing.
This could mean shutting off your social media and putting your phone on silent or downloading a productivity app to help you stay on task by giving you scheduled breaks during your lessons.
One trick to help you focus is to turn on music to drown out distractions. Several music apps allow you to build custom playlists. Create one for your typing lessons to keep you entertained while staying on task — however, don’t include podcasts, which could be too distracting.
Feel free to get up from your computer for a while to avoid sitting still for hours on end. Working without taking a break makes it harder for you to focus. Research has proven that taking breaks helps to refresh your mind, increasing both productivity and creativity.
Go back to that productivity app that you downloaded earlier. Look for one that has a break timer. You should be standing up and stepping away from your computer every 15 minutes for at least five minutes to get the most out of your lessons and practice sessions.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Probably the most important thing to remember when learning to type is to practice, practice, practice. Much of learning to type quickly and accurately is muscle memory.
Your fingers will determine where each key is on the keyboard and how to move to press them. This skill isn’t something you can learn overnight, though. It will come with time, so it’s vital to spend time practicing as much as you feel comfortable with.
Learn to Speed Read
Typing 120 words a minute doesn’t do you a lot of good if you can’t read and comprehend fast enough to keep up. Speed reading is a skill that goes hand in hand with typing quickly, and its one that will serve you well.
Plenty of speed-reading apps can help you learn the skill without needing to go back to school. Some allow you to upload nearly any file that you want to read faster and feature adjustable settings as your speed increases.
Increasing your typing speed takes a little time and effort, but it ends up being worth it in the long run. Be patient with yourself.
It takes a while for your muscles to learn how to move, but improving your typing speed will help you achieve great things both at home and at the office.
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