Touch Typing Changed My Life
I will give you my framework to shift from hunting and pecking at 25 wpm to mastering touch typing to hit over 100 wpm. Learning how to touch type has been one of the most rewarding, if not the most rewarding skill that I have mastered to date.
🚀 During mid-2022, while applying to universities for my master’s program, I found myself with some time to spare. As someone who loves optimizing every aspect of life, I decided it was high time to learn touch typing. I had two goals in mind: acquiring an additional skillset to boost my blogging speed and also lowkey flexing my typing speed (Let's be honest, someone who types at 100 wpm is cool). This turned out to be one of the best decisions I had made in a while.
Currently, I type consistently over 90 wpm, and when I’m in the flow, I hit over 100 wpm. I will give you my framework for how I achieved this in about 6 months with 1-hour practice every day.
🧐 Why should you learn touch typing?
- Your eyes are on the screen and not the keyboard. You can focus more on the content than finding your keys.
- You can match the speed of your thoughts. I can transcribe my thoughts quickly enough onto the canvas, allowing me to capture ideas as they flow. Later on, I filter the best parts from my scraps and turn them into gold.
- You can write a 3000-word report in a couple of hours if you have the content ready. Touch typing has saved me from missing deadlines, as I tend to write reports for assignments on the last day.
- It makes you insanely efficient by saving time, as you don’t have to press the backspace key as often, which is the usual case when people keep switching their vision between the screen and the keyboard.
- It makes you cool. 😎
🚙 Things to keep in mind:
- Use a reliable website or software to start touch-typing from scratch. I tried numerous websites, and while many were great, I found significant progress with Typing Master. I opted for the old version with a minimalistic UI to eliminate distractions, and fortunately, I obtained a key from a friend, granting me access to the full version. (Currently, they are offering the key for free.)
- DO NOT LOOK AT THE KEYBOARD. This is the most important aspect you have to keep in mind. The first few days or weeks will be insanely frustrating, and you’ll feel like going back to using your index fingers to type, but let me tell you, it gets better.
- Anchoring your fingers in the home row. The preliminary practice you have to do is rest your left fingers on A, S, D, and F while your right fingers are on J, K, L, and the semicolon. Both thumbs should hover over / rest on the space bar. This will be a reflex in no time. Did you notice that there are small bumps on the F and J keys? It is there so that you can navigate your index fingers on those keys without having to look at them when you’re lost.
- Allocate at least an hour in the first couple of weeks to make yourself comfortable with typing without looking and using all your fingers. (I ended up typing for hours when I started seeing tangible results.) The initial weeks are crucial since you will have to step out of your comfort zone and be prepared to face occasional frustration. Avoid breaking your concentration by scrolling on your phone or surfing the web during these sessions.
- Work on your posture and calibrate your chair/ table elevation. For detailed information on typing posture, check typing.com
The prerequisites are important since they’ll set you up for an effective typing journey.
For the steps that I will be providing, I will refer back to the lessons from Typing Master. When I learned touch typing through Typing Master, the course had 12 lessons in total. These lessons assume you have no prior experience in touch typing, so you’ll gradually learn the basics as you progress. Here are some key aspects I learned over time that might help you accelerate the learning process.
- When you start learning how to touch type, focus on ACCURACY, not your typing SPEED. For most people, you’ll notice a drastic decrease in your typing speed initially. You might drop to about 10–15 WPM at times because you’re learning how to type without looking at the keys. Initially, you’ll end up pressing the wrong keys, and that’s alright. Accept the fact that for 2–3 weeks, this will be the case, and it’s normal. In the first few days, solely concentrate on learning which fingers should press which keys.
- Try to complete one lesson properly every single day. So, it should take you 12 days to finish all the lessons. But keep a buffer to revise the previous lessons, especially those where you have to use your pinky fingers. I still struggle when I have to press P and Q with my pinkies, and that slows me down often. Aim to finish the course within 2 weeks. The lessons may seem repetitive, but they build up the muscle memory essential for touch typing.
- Keep track of your gross and net typing speed every day. The software allows you to see your progress. Focus on your accuracy, and the speed will increase over time. Remember, you can only improve your speed when you make fewer mistakes. It doesn’t matter how fast you type if you consistently type the wrong keys. At the end of the day, those who type slower but correctly end up hitting a higher typing speed compared to those who type fast but end up hitting the backspace more often.
- Use both the SHIFT keys. You heard that right. Most of us end up using only the left SHIFT and never use the right SHIFT. Remember, when you’re using your right hand to type a letter that needs capitalization, make sure to use the left SHIFT, and vice versa.
- Try some typing games, like TypeRacer when you’re familiar with the keyboard layout and can comfortably type at 90%+ accuracy. Use websites like monkeytype to casually check your typing speed every day.
- Get a mechanical keyboard (optional). When you start using a mechanical keyboard, there’s no going back. You can find loads of different keyboards with different switches, but that’s for another article. Even though getting a mechanical keyboard is not necessary, it makes the process more enjoyable and efficient. The MacBook keyboards are also great.
- Practice every day, and make sure you don’t end up using your index fingers when you’re frustrated. Transfer your touch typing skills when you’re writing a report, an essay, an article, or even a social media post.
- Take short breaks during the typing sessions. You’ll get fatigued after 20–30 minutes. Speed and accuracy decline when you’re fatigued. You can easily implement the Pomodoro Technique in this case to boost your productivity.
- Write every day. I picked up the habit of writing, and that accelerated this process even further. My touch typing skills complemented my blogging, and vice versa. If you touch type for 30 minutes every day and, on top of that, use it for a creative purpose, you’ll be doing yourself a big favor.
Within one month, you’re expected to type at about 40 WPM. However, once you build up the muscle memory with constant practice, it’ll slowly reach 100 in six months to a year. Yes, there is no shortcut to this, but of course, if you put in more hours, you’ll see faster results.
At the end of the day, typing faster saves you time. You can do the simple math. If you type at 30 WPM, it’ll take you 10 minutes to compose a 300-word email. If you double your typing speed to 60 WPM, you can crank it out in 5 minutes. Over the course of the year, you’ll save a substantial amount of your time, and this is why I can strongly say that touch typing has been life-changing.