Too Hot, Too Cold – Keep Your Typing Just Right

Right now in New York and Norway, typists are wrapped in thick sweaters and turning up the heat at home and at the office. When you’re too cold, your hands and fingers will be stiff, and that will slow down your typing speed. Getting chilled means your shoulders and neck will tighten up, and that may lead to muscle strain. Cold weather also contributes to poor circulation of the blood, so it’s important to keep warm and keep moving. If you’re in the middle of a northern winter, try these tips:

1) Wear a warm scarf or a light sweater to keep your upper body from getting too cold.

2) Buy a set of fingerless gloves to keep the joints and muscles in your hand warm and flexible.

3) Use a small portable heater beneath your desk to encourage blood flow in your legs and feet.

4) Drink hot caffeine-free liquids throughout the day, and get up frequently to move around.

On the other hand, people typing in Sydney and South Africa right now are probably opening up their windows as wide as possible, trying to get a cool breeze into their office rooms. In the middle of summer, too much heat usually won’t affect your typing speed – other than contributing to your general discomfort and distraction – but it will definitely affect the computer you’re typing on. When the air around a computer is too hot, the computer itself may overheat. To make sure you and your computer don’t lose your cool, follow these suggestions:

1) Use a portable fan to cool off your workspace. Don’t turn the thermostat down too low, or you’ll start to get too cold, and that will have a negative impact on your typing speed (see above).

2) Make sure your computer has good airspace around it, especially near the exhaust fan.

3) Keep your computer clean; a dusty computer overheats more quickly than a dust-free one.

4) If you use a laptop, use supports to raise it off the desk surface, or buy a laptop stand.

Once you’ve found the happy medium for your typing environment, your workspace setup will be just right.

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Are You Able to Keep Up? Why Technology Matters in Communication

The Internet has turned ours into a society in which written communication reigns. Before the Internet age, most communication took place verbally. Back then people actually talked to one another, usually either face-to-face or over the telephone. Today, such communication is becoming rarer and rarer. For better or for worse, verbal communication has been largely replaced by the written word. We type our email. We type out our thoughts, beliefs and emotions on blogs. We “chat” online, but most often our chats are not driven by our vocal cords. Instead, we rely on our fingers to convey our words.

When we have good or bad experiences at restaurants, shops, concerts, or other retail or entertainment venues, we access the various social media sites where we share our experiences with others using our keyboards instead of our mouths.

There are many different ways the Internet is changing the way we communicate, but today’s abundance of written communication all share one thing in common – the majority of it is typed. Think about how the Internet has changed the way YOU communicate with others. Here are a few questions to ponder:

How often do you choose to send an email message rather than contacting another person by telephone?

On average, what percentage of each day do you spend posting and/or replying to messages on social media sites?

When you chat with your friends, are you more inclined to chat on the phone, chat in person, or chat online?

How often do you pick up a pen or pencil to make notes or complete assignments or write letters? How often do you instead turn to your keyboard when handling these tasks?

You may be surprised to realize how big a role the Internet plays in your daily life – this realization surprises a lot of people. With the Internet playing an ever-increasing role in our daily communication, the ability to touch type is more important than ever.

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A Clean Desk is the Sign of a Good Typist

Everything about your workspace affects how well you’re able to type, and that includes the top of your desk – and what’s on it, or not. Ideally, your work surface should be uncluttered. There’s a reason for this that goes beyond neatness. If your work surface is cluttered, you may not have enough space to position your monitor and other components in the most ergonomically desirable positions. This can lead to awkward posture, which, besides leading to back pain, can trigger muscle soreness, constricted blood vessels, and other health issues.

Something else that’s important about your work surface is its height from the floor. For the typical computer user, the ideal height from the floor to the top of the work surface ranges between 26 and 29 inches. Before you start searching for a ruler, here’s one way to tell if your work surface is at an adequate height: it should be a bit higher than the height of your elbows.

If you don’t think your work surface is at an ideal height, consider getting a different desk. You can usually find good deals at stores that sell used office furniture, or if you’re looking for a new desk at work, the HR department may be able to help you find one from another area. If you’d rather not get a different desk, desk accessories like a wrist rest or keyboard shelf might be all you need to achieve a comfortable surface height that reduces the risk of developing forearm and wrist strain.

When your work surface is at the right height, your legs will also have adequate clearance. Without adequate under-desk clearance, whether because of height problems or clutter, shoulder, neck, and back pain can develop. Also, if there’s not enough space for your legs to move around, you may develop problems with blood circulation, you may feel fatigued, and you may develop contact stress.

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.

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How to Use the Numeric Keypad for Quick Arithmetic

Anyone can learn how to touch type on the numeric keypad, even “left-handed” individuals. The placement of the keys and math symbols allows you to key in formulas and do data entry quickly, and even do arithmetic. This is useful in spreadsheets and other accounting functions.

On a standard keyboard, the keypad is over on the far right side. Most laptops don’t include a separate numeric keypad, so if you need to use one often, you’ll probably benefit from buying a stand-alone keypad that you can plug into your laptop. Looking at a numeric keypad, you’ll notice that there are three rows of digits with three digits in each row, plus a bottom row where the zero key resides. Surrounding the rows of digits are keys for performing various mathematical functions including addition, division, and others.

On the numeric keypad you will also find a [Num Lock] key. Always toggle this key “on” when you want to type digits only. When the [Num Loc] key is in the “off” position, these keys are often used as arrow keys and other keys for controlling cursor movement around a document.

While the location of the non-numeric keys may differ from one numeric keypad to the next, the row location of the digits zero through nine will always be the same.

Like the letter keys, the numeric keypad has a “home row.” This is where three of the fingers on your right hand will rest. These fingers include your right-hand index finger, which should be placed on the number 4, your right-hand second finger, which should rest on the number five, and your right-hand ring finger, which should rest on the number 6 key. Your right-hand index finger also strikes the 7 and 1 keys. The right-hand second finger moves between the 2, 5, and 8 keys. Your right-hand ring finger strikes the 9 and the 3 keys as well as the 6.

The math keys on the numeric keypad surround the digits and enable you to perform mathematical functions including addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. When you want to add a sequence of typed digits, you will use the key that displays the plus sign. When you want to subtract a sequence of typed digits you will use the key that displays the dash or hyphen. When you want to multiply a sequence of typed digits you will use the key with the asterisk. When you want to divide a sequence of typed digits you will use the key that displays the forward slash. The numeric keypad also includes an [Enter] key for convenience.

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A is For Accuracy: An Important Touch Typing Skill

Nowadays when we communicate in writing, it seems we pay less attention to things like spelling and punctuation. But in many types of correspondence, especially professional correspondence, proper spelling and grammar matter. That’s why the ability to touch type accurately is so important. Of course, there are times when the environment is more casual, such as in e-mails or on-line chat rooms, but even then, it’s better to avoid typos, because that will help you avoid misunderstandings too. And if you’re chatting with people you’d like to have (or keep) as friends, your good typing skills will also help you give a good impression of your competence and intelligence.

You can easily use any material to practice your typing accuracy using a basic word processing program, but if you do, make sure to turn any “auto-correct” features off before you begin. It’s also helpful to try to avoid using the [Backspace] key when you’re testing yourself on accuracy. While it’s perfectly all right to delete mistakes in typing, you’ll get a better sense of your true overall typing accuracy without it.

Just remember that to increase touch typing accuracy, you may need to decrease speed. And that’s okay. Speed will improve with practice, and so will accuracy. The computer generated activities you’ll find in Typesy’s Accuracy Building Course will help you achieve your goal of making fewer touch typing mistakes. All you need to do is follow the instructions on screen as they are presented. You can repeat the accuracy building course as many time as you like. Each time you repeat it your accuracy will improve.

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Fast Typing Tonics Take Typists Further

Typesy offers several opportunities to further develop your touch typing skills, once you have mastered the basics of touch typing and want to concentrate on getting your typing speed up at or over 80-90wpm, or to aim for more than 90% accuracy in your typing. With quick review and practice courses that are designed to hone specific skills, you’ll be able to take that spare 15 minutes in your day and get a useful boost in your typing abilities.

Fast Typing Tonics are quick courses that you can use when you require further instruction regarding a specific aspect of typing. Each tonic is designed to take no longer than fifteen minutes to complete. Keeping the instruction short makes it easier to plan time to complete it.

Keyboard Tonic is an ultra-condensed version of the Home Row, Top Row and Bottom Row lessons taught during the Typesy Beginner course. This practice session reminds you which fingers go where so that, while touch typing, you can start relying more on your memory than your sight. Remember, constantly looking at the keyboard slows your typing speed and makes it difficult to keep track of your work.

The Speed Tonic consists of a series of computer generated drills that focus on typing speed. Use the Speed Tonic whenever you want to work on improving your touch typing speed.

Accuracy Tonic also consists of a series of computer generated drills. These drills are designed to help you improve touch typing accuracy.

Keypad Tonic is another course that takes fifteen minutes or less to complete. Like the Keyboard Tonic, this course offers an ultra-condensed version of the number row lessons taught during the Typesy beginner course. If you currently work with large batches of digits, or you will in the future, the Keypad Tonic is a must-do. You’ll be happy you did!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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