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These days, it seems like people know how to type before they know how to string together a sentence. Habits get ingrained quickly, and leave slowly, but that’s no reason you can’t work on them to improve your typing. The list below identifies some common pitfalls and ways to unlearn them.
1. Hunching over your laptop. You know those movies, with the talented hackers curled over their computers, typing a mile a minute to break into a secure location? Well, they would achieve a lot more if they straightened up and practiced some ergonomics. You type faster and waste less time on strain and injury when you type with the proper physical position. Every time you hit the Enter key, think about your posture. If you’re hunching over, straighten up and try again.
2. Staring down at your keyboard.It’s tempting, I understand. You can only be sure you’re typing the right letters if you look directly at them! However, touch typing is supposed to eliminate the need to look down. Challenge yourself by refusing to look at the keyboard until you’ve finished typing a paragraph. You can orient yourself by placing your index fingers on the F and J keys, which have little bumps on them to help you find your place.
3. Only using two fingers to type. The famous “hunt and peck” method, where you stare at your keys and peck at your keyboard like a chicken looking for food. Learning touch typing will help you eliminate this technique, but you can spur it on by forcing your wrists to stay parallel to the table. If they creep higher, force them down again until you are unable to use your preferred method of typing.
4. Assuming that you remember which fingers are responsible for certain keys. So you’ve started learning to touch type, and you looked at a couple of keyboard maps. You probably won’t remember the geography of the map well at first, so you need to make sure to double check – you don’t want to slide back into hunting and pecking just because you couldn’t remember which finger presses the U key.
5. Ignoring your pinky fingers. As you start to branch out from two-finger typing, your hands might ache. Stretching your pinky all the way out to the Enter key is uncomfortable, but neglecting your smaller fingers cuts down on your productivity and speed. Typesy’s Keyboard Knowledge Heat Map will help you notice which fingers you’re having trouble with so you can keep working on them.
6. Stiff hand positioning. If you’re used to two-finger typing, your hands might be a bit stiff (and your wrists as well). Don’t forget to stretch your hands out and pay attention to your wrists so you don’t hurt yourself. If you massage your upper forearm by your elbow with the end of a pencil, you can ease some of the tension in your muscles for better typing.
7. Using too much force on the keys. Not only does this run the risk of damaging your keyboard, it slows you down more than you realize. We aren’t in the golden age of typewriters anymore – you can press gently on the keys, and you’ll move faster (and probably hurt your fingers less). If you notice yourself jamming the keys, lift your hands off the keyboard for a moment and set them down again to reset your intensity.
8. Learn keyboard shortcuts. Nowadays, computers come equipped with all kinds of handy shortcuts to make your life easier. You can CTRL+C to copy text or CTRL+V to paste it. This may not seem like it’s related to typing, but training your brain to understand the pathways on the keyboard will help you develop. Next time you right click, ask yourself if there’s a shortcut.
9. Focusing on speed and ignoring accuracy. One of the most common typing mistakes is thinking that speed is more important than accuracy. Yes, WPM can be used to measure typing skill, but accuracy is a key consideration for any typing job. Don’t forget accuracy as you learn.
10. Expecting too much from yourself as you first start out. When you start touch typing, it can feel like you’ve lost progress. You will probably move slower and make more mistakes as you get used to this new, more memory-based form of typing. If you get frustrated, just remind yourself that you are doing yourself a favor, and that everyone struggles with touch typing at the beginning. Good luck!
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