Are You Putting Yourself At Risk At Work?




If you have not mastered the skill of touch typing, you are at increased risk of developing RSI, or Repetitive Strain Injury. RSI is a generic term that is used to define a variety of different disorders that can develop in different parts of the body as a result of continual repetitive movement. RSI causes pain, swelling and other uncomfortable symptoms, and when untreated, could lead to a complete loss of dexterity.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is the most common disorder that develops as a result of continual repetitive hand use. If you have been diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, or know someone who has, you’re probably familiar with the tingling, sometimes numbing sensation in the hands that this disorder triggers.

If not, consider yourself lucky – for now. If you’re not skilled at touch typing and spend long periods of time typing, you may soon find yourself with an uncomfortable case of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, or Repetitive Motion Syndrome, or Occupational Overuse Syndrome, or any of the other similar hand disorders that could eventually require surgery to correct.

So why risk going through all that pain and misery when preventing it can be a simple matter of learning to touch type? That’s why reducing the risk of RSI is another big benefit of learning touch typing skills. When you learn to touch type, you’ll be able to save your hands from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and other stress-related injuries that can develop from continual repetitive movement. You won’t lose time at work, and you won’t run the risk of incurring large medical expenses to fix the problems after it’s too late.

Words Per Minute: What Pays More?




Accurate typing and data entry skills are important for many jobs in this modern economy, where even factory workers often have to know how to type in the instructions for the automated machinery that helps them assemble products. Many employers set out a minimum words per minute (WPM) requirement in their job descriptions and help-wanted ads, and most of the temp agencies (“temp” = “temporary employment”) start out every new candidate with a typing test. The United States Government requires a minimum typing speed of 40wpm for even the lowest-paid entry-level positions – and that’s approximately twice the speed of the average untrained “two-finger” typist who has not learned to touch type.

If you want to make sure your job application stays at the top of the pile on the Human Resources clerk’s desk, you’ll need to make sure that your typing skills meet this minimum standard, at the very least. In fact, it’s better to set a goal that’s higher than 40wpm, for several reasons. First, if you’re faster and more accurate than the “average” typist, you’ll have the edge over the competition. Speed and accuracy translate into increased productivity, and that’s something that every employer looks for. Second, once you’re hired, you can use your typing speed to get through your work efficiently, leaving you extra time for those extra projects that help you get promoted to higher – and higher-paying – positions.

If you’re looking for a job that centers on your typing skills, doing transcription or data entry, you’ll need to get your typing speed up to at least 60wpm, and 80wpm is better. In general, when doing transcription of dictation or a recording of a conversation, you’ll be listening to people speak at a normal pace, which is approximately 150wpm. Obviously you’d have to type that fast to get the words on paper in real time, but with a typing speed of 80wpm it’s possible to keep up with only a little pause every few seconds to allow your fingers to catch up with what your ears have heard. Good transcriptionists generally start at a pay scale that’s double what an entry-level office worker earns.

Whether you have a goal of improving your typing skills for your own satisfaction, or because you’re looking for an improvement in your earning powers, learning and perfecting your ability to touch type will bring you the results you want.

Why Short, Simple Steps Lead to Success




You wouldn’t expect a newcomer to your mountain-climbing club to be able to reach the peak of Kilimanjaro the first day they put on their hiking boots, so why would you expect to instantly change your typing speed from 30wpm to 90wpm? Don’t set your self up for disappointment by thinking you’ll instantly achieve success – in typing or in anything.

Instead, define a series of “mini-goals” you will strive to achieve along the journey towards reaching your ultimate goal. Breaking a goal up into smaller goals, or milestones as they’re sometimes called, is an effective way to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Failing to achieve a mini-goal has another important benefit – the consequences of missing a mini-goal are not as big, but they’ll still motivate you to get back on track.

Each time you reach one of your mini-goals, be sure to reward yourself for a job well done. How you reward yourself is up to you. Just do what makes you feel better, whether that’s eating dinner at your favorite restaurant, treating yourself to something new, or spending undisturbed time at the museum, beach, or other favorite location.

When you take time to reward yourself for achieving these mileposts along the way, you are more likely to stay motivated long-term. What’s even better is that each time you achieve a mini-goal, you get one step closer to achieving your ultimate goal and the feeling of satisfaction that goes along with it.

Finally, some people find it easier to achieve their goals when they write down their thoughts and experiences along the way. If you write about obstacles and how they were overcome, mistakes you made along the way, and things that facilitated your journey as they happen, you can look back at the process to see what’s been working, and what’s been standing in your way of success.

If you’re not fond of using a pen and notepad, don’t. Instead, why not document your journey in a blog or word processing document? Doing so will provide you with an opportunity to do the one thing that will help you achieve your touch typing goal: PRACTICE!

Are You All Thumbs? Touch Typists Say “Yes!”




The bottom row on a standard computer keyboard contains the all-important space bar: the most frequently used key. Rather than being shaped like a square as the other keys are, the space bar is long and horizontal in shape. This key is shaped differently to make it easier for the thumb on either hand to access it. On most computer keyboards, the space bar is also wider than the other keys. The space bar may or may not be labeled.

If you’re not in the habit of pressing the space bar with one or both of your thumbs, then you are not a touch typist! But you will be once you start using Typesy to learn proper finger placement so you can develop your touch typing skills.

You’ll need to get into the habit of using both thumbs to hit the space bar, although most people generally use the thumb of their dominant hand for this key. That is, right-handed people tend to use their right thumb to hit the space bar, and left-handed people their left thumb. It doesn’t matter as far as touch typing skills go, unless you discover that you’re faster with one side or the other (or by using both).

One important thing to note about the space bar is that for the most part you’ll only hit it once at any point. As we mentioned in a previous post, the use of one space after a period instead of two is now the standard format, and using two spaces will create problems in formatting and spacing of larger documents. More importantly, it will significantly slow your typing speed down since you’ll be doubling the amount of time and effort you use to create the space between sentences.

The Best Chair For Typing? Why Your Seat Affects Your Speed




Two features to look for when choosing a chair for your computer workspace are a good design and adjustability. A well-designed chair will support several key areas including your elbows, legs, back, and buttocks. A padded seat and backrest covered in the right material will offer comfort. A five-footed base will improve stability and ease of movement. And an adjustable back rest that conforms to your spine’s natural curvature will provide better back support.

The seat area should be big enough to accommodate your buttocks and hips without confining them. If it’s too small, it’ll be uncomfortable and won’t provide adequate leg or back support. Lumbar and wedge-shaped cushions can be purchased separately if your chair does not provide adequate support. “Lumbar” refers to the lower part of your back where it curves in from your hips up to your ribs.

The seat of your chair should be adjustable so you can raise it higher or lower as necessary. Your chair is at the proper height when you can place both feet flat on the floor. If you can’t, consider getting a footrest for added support. In the ideal typing position, your knees are a bit higher than your hips. This position helps you avoid curving your lower back unnaturally.

An armrest, if your chair has one and if you choose to use one, should also be adjustable so it can provide adequate elbow support. An armrest also helps prevent awkward postures that can cause back pain. Remember, when seated, your shoulders should be relaxed and your elbows should be close to the body.

Note: If you experience musculoskeletal pain and discomfort now, or while completing the Typesy Course, you may need to seek professional help. Only someone with the proper training can accurately diagnosis the source of your pain or discomfort and recommend a treatment plan that may or may not include ergonomics.

7 Tips for Increasing Speed and Reducing Stress





Just as important as the position of your fingers on a computer keyboard is the position of your body while typing. In other words, you will need to sit up straight if you’ve started to slouch. You’ll need to move your eyes away from your keys if you’ve been looking at them more than you should. Get into the habit of assuming the correct position throughout your touch typing sessions. Doing so will improve speed and accuracy, reduce the risk of musculoskeletal problems, and help you become a better touch typist.

Run over your mental position checklist at the beginning of a typing session, or any time you’re feeling physical stress. Make sure your head is erect, not tilted downward, upward, backward, or forward. Your shoulders should be relaxed, elbows close to the body, wrists flat, and fingers curved naturally. Your feet should be uncrossed and flat against the floor or foot rest. Your eyes must not be looking down at your keyboard.

Here are seven points to keep in mind while you’re practicing your typing lessons:

1. Strive to maintain proper posture while touch typing.

2. Touch typing is a skill that relies on memory recall. Saying the actual letter as you strike the key can strengthen the finger-key relationship and make it easier to recall from memory.

3. Keep your eyes on the screen in front of you. If you look at your fingers and the keyboard, you’ll get a sore neck and develop a bad habit.

4. Take frequent brief breaks. Get up and walk around. Or stretch your arms, legs, wrists, and fingers while at your desk. Also remember once an hour to refocus your eyes onto an object fifteen to twenty feet in the distance to give your eyes a break from the monitor.

5. Check that ambient lighting is not too bright or too dark. It should be just right. Make sure that there is no glare on your screen, and that it’s easy to see.

6. Always keep your hands in position on the keyboard as much as possible so that you gain the physical memory of how the keyboard letters feel under your fingers.

7. Don’t rush! Learning to touch type takes time, so slow down. It takes effort, too, so set aside ample time to practice your lessons. But don’t overdo it. If you tire or feel pain in your eyes, back, or other body part, you’ll just make mistakes and get frustrated. That’s when it’s better to stop until you’re rested and feeling better. You’ll be glad you did!

Proper Grammar Makes Perfect Typists




If you’ve gotten into the habit of typing all lower case or worse, all upper case, you really should break this habit. Using mixed case when touch typing is grammatically correct, and gives your typed material a more polished and professional look. Even casual typists should do this. Capital letters should always be used at the beginning of each new sentence or question. Capital letters should also be used with abbreviations and acronyms, proper names and titles, the days of the week and months, cities and countries, movie, poem, song and book titles, and some brand names. There are other examples of capitalization usage, but these are the most common.

When typing, letters appear in lower case by default. If there is a situation where you need to type a series of upper case letters, you simply toggle the [Caps Lock] key on and off as needed. On a QWERTY keyboard, the [Caps Lock] key is located to the left of the letter A. Press once to turn [Caps Lock] on and all of the letters you type will be capitalized. Press the [Caps Lock] key again to turn this feature off.

However, when you only want to capitalize a single letter, or the first letter of a word, the [Shift] key is more appropriate. The [Shift] key also serves another purpose. Looking at the keyboard, you’ll see that most non-letter keys have dual purposes. For example, above the number 1 is an exclamation point, and a colon is above the semicolon. When you need to type an exclamation point, colon, or any of the other symbols or punctuation marks on the top of these dual purpose keys, you must also press the [Shift] key.

You’ll notice there are two [Shift] keys on the Bottom Row of the keyboard. One is to the left of the Z key and the other is to the right of the slash/question mark key. When touch typing, you press the [Shift] key with the little finger of the hand that is on the opposite side of the keyboard from the key you need.

In other words, to type an exclamation point, you will press and hold down the [Shift] key with your right-hand little finger while you press the exclamation point with your left-hand little finger. While this happens, your other fingers should remain on the appropriate home row keys.

Take A Number: How to Type Numbers and Symbols




Letters and punctuation make up the bulk of keys used by most touch typists. However, there will be times when you’ll need to type numbers. When you do, you have two choices. You can use the row of numbers located above the Top Row of letters, or you can use the numeric keypad, located on the right side of the keyboard. Feel free to choose whichever is faster and easier to use.

As always, you will start with your fingers in the appropriate positions on the Home Row. Then, when you want to type a number, you’ll stretch the appropriate finger up to the number and press. You’ll do this while leaving as many of your other fingers on the Home Row keys as possible. Sound difficult? It won’t be once you get used to these exaggerated finger movements. Like the Top Row and Bottom Row keys, proper touch typing requires that each number be pressed by a specific finger. The exercises and accompanying videos that cover this topic in the Typesy software system will help you remember these important finger-number-key relationships.

Many symbols are also found on the top row of the keyboard, the ones that share keys with numbers. Now, what’s interesting about these symbols is that they are used only occasionally. In fact, these symbols take up less than 1% of most text. Because of their infrequency of use, most touch typists do not actually touch type these symbols. Some do what you’ve been told you should never do: they look at the keyboard.

Not touch typing these symbols is okay because doing so will only have a negligible impact on your typing speed. When you continually look at the keyboard when typing letters, the time loss is significantly greater. If you want to become a proficient touch typist, you do need to know where these symbols are located on the keyboard. As you touch type symbols, it’s important to use the same finger as you do when typing the respective numbers. When typing a symbol, remember that you have to press and hold down the appropriate [Shift] key with the other hand before pressing the symbol key.

Keeping Your Life In Balance: A Typing Tip




Studies – as well as personal experience – constantly confirm that if your life is in balance, you tend to be healthier, both physically and mentally. One of the ways to keep yourself balanced is to literally balance your brain, and get the left side and the right side communicating. This helps you be more energetic, more mentally alert, and even calmer, especially if you use a physical exercise to do the balancing. For example, when you’re walking and swinging your arms at the same tempo, you’re alternating the signals sent from your brain to your muscles from left to right in a rhythmic fashion. This rhythm, and the left-right movement, helps keep neural communication flowing steadily.

You can do the same mental balancing act by controlling the muscles of your hands and fingers when you type words that use letters that alternate between the left and right hand. To try this technique, type out the words on the following list:

audible
burials
clangor
cubicle
divisor
emblems
ensigns
fuschia
hangmen
leprosy
paisley
proviso
rituals
shrieks
skeptic
surname
visible

It probably didn’t take you too long to type that list, so you might not notice an immediate effect. Let’s move briefly towards another aspect of balance, which is making sure that you have a good amount of physical movement to offset the time you spend at the computer. Take five minutes to get up, stretch your arms up high, and rotate your head slowly back and forth to stretch your neck muscles. If you’ve got time and space, try some of the rhythmic walking we talked about above.

Now that you’ve got your body feeling more balanced and relaxed, go back to the typing exercise with this column of alternating-letter words:

auditor
bushels
clement
cuticle
durians
enamels
figment
gospels
haughty
memento
penalty
prudish
robotic
sickens
sleuths
suspend
visitor

Keep practicing with words like this, and make sure you keep a balance in your life between work and relaxation, so that your body and your mind remain sharp and you’re able to fully utilize all of the touch typing techniques you’re learning.

1 + 1 = 2 Good Reasons to Learn the Numeric Keypad




On keyboards that include one, the numeric keypad is located on the far right side. Most laptop keyboards do not have this feature built in, but you can purchase an external numeric keypad if you need one. If you’re asking yourself why in the world you’d ever need a numeric keypad, here are two good reasons:

You increase speed by decreasing fatigue. Although the numbers and mathematical symbols do all appear on the standard keyboard keys, because they’re not often used in normal document typing, many typists – even the experts – aren’t as familiar with their placement. Not only that, it takes all eight fingers to type the full range of numbers and symbols. It’s easier to get fatigued, both physically and mentally, if you’re trying to use the standard keyboard for numeric data entry. Numeric keypads are favored over using the numbers on the Top Row by people who work with a lot of numbers. This could include accountants, sales or administrative personnel, or anyone else who regularly works with large batches of digits, for example when doing data entry on spreadsheets.

You increase speed by taking advantage of the keypad layout. Because you don’t have to move your fingers as far to reach all of the numbers when you’re using a keypad, you will be more effective in increasing numeral input speed. In fact, the industry standard for numeric input speed is 250 dpm, or digits per minute – more than twice the normal typing speed that most of us would even think to aim for! Such a high speed might sound impossible to achieve, but it isn’t. As is the case with the other keyboard keys, practice allows you to continually improve your numeric input speed.