June 1, 2023

– Hey friends, welcome back to the Blog. If you’re new here, my name is Ali, and I’m a doctor based in the UK. And in this article, we’re talking about a topic very close to my heart, which is how to type faster. Now having a ridiculously fast typing speed is one of my superpowers in life. And I think anyone can become at least twice as productive if you just improve your typing speed.

So in this article, we’re gonna talk about the benefits of improving your typing speed. And then I’m gonna go over eight actionable practical tips on how you can personally improve your typing speed so that you can become a productivity grease monkey.

How I am Typing Really Fast (156 Words per Minute)
How I am Typing Really Fast (156 Words per Minute)

In case you’re wondering, I hit around 155 words per minute on a good day. And if I’m feeling particularly sluggish, I will be hovering around the 140 words per minute mark. For context, the average typing speed is around 45 words per minute. And if you’re watching this article, you’re probably a nerd like me, so yours are probably significantly higher.

And according to Google, you need to be at around 80 words per minute to qualify as a professional typist, whatever that means. Regardless of whether you wanna be a professional typist or not, I think there’s some very good reasons to improve our typing speed, to try and get it as high as possible.

1. Really Impresses People.

Like when people see me typing at work,I work as a doctor in case you didn’t know. The single biggest compliment I’ve ever gotten through my two years of being a doctor, is that, wow, you type really fast.

Maybe that’s not the kind of compliment I want when I’m a doctor, but still it’s nice to hear. And everyone is always so impressed. Like, oh my God, where did you learn to type? And I’m just like, well, you know, I misspent youth and they’re always like, oh hahaha, very funny, Ali.

2. More Productive at Computer.

Secondly, everything in life is based on a computer these days. If you can increase the speed at which you interact with a computer, if you can get the computer to respond to you kind of as close to you thinking that thing as possible, then you just like so much more productive in front of a computer.

 It’s not just for typing heavy things, like typing essays and whatever you do for work, it’s also just in general in terms of interacting with the web browser and going on websites and sending messages to friends, all of that stuff becomes quicker and therefore we become more productive when we can type faster.

3. Encourage Creativity

And thirdly, to be honest for me, the closer my typing speed gets to my thinking speed, the more creative I think I become because when you’re writing something, like whether it’s a first draught for a blog post or a project or an essay, or even a script for a article, when you’re writing something, the first draught you’d always be just kind of a brain dump without really stopping to think about it too much.

So when I’m planning articles or writing blog posts or email newsletters, link below if you wanna subscribe to my weekly email newsletter when I’m typing out the first draught, I can almost type at the rate that I think and therefore I just get stuff onto a page so much quicker.

And a lot of people ask that,

Ali, how do you have time to do all of these things?

YouTube channel, blog, newsletter, podcast?

How do you have time to do all this stuff while you’re working as a doctor?

And my answer is, well, I’m taking a break from medicine right now. And apart from all the general productivity advice that I’ve given out on this channel in the past, I think just being able to type super fast makes such a big difference to everything because it just makes life so much better.

So that’s why we should be improving on typing speed. I’ve actively worked to improve mine and it’s had a big knock on effect on my life and hopefully one day it will help me attract a mate.

Eight ways to Improve Typing Speed

Let’s now go over eight ways, eight practical actionable ways that you can improve your typing speed.  

1. Learn Keyboard Shortcuts

All right, so step one involves learning some keyboard shortcuts for fixing mistakes.And if you don’t know these already, these are an absolute game changer. So I’m gonna type some stuff and I’ll guide you how I fix a mistake. Okay, I’ve typed in, “Somewhere over the rainbow wau up.” So I wanna write “way up”. Now the old school way of fixing this mistake is going back, back, back, back. Y, space.

You know, it’s like using backspace multiple times. But a general tip for improving your typing is that whenever you find yourself using backspace more than twice, there’s probably a better way of doing it. And so, if I take that typo back, what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna use option and backspace. And what that does is that deletes an entire word. Option, backspace to delete an entire word. And I will guide you on a more legit keyboard what that looks like. So if I type the type again “wau up”.

Absolutely Revultionary

I’m sure this is aligned. I’m just hitting option and backspace to delete the entire word. And this is absolutely revolutionary. If instead you’re one of those heathens that uses windows, then don’t worry, you can also do this on windows. You press control and backspace and on Windows that works and that deletes a whole word.

So that just changes the game completely because now you’re not pressing backspace multiple times to delete mistakes, you’re doing option + backspace or control + backspace and then you’re more efficiently fixing mistakes as you go along.

The other really useful keyboard short cut which is on Mac, but not on Windows is Cmd + backspace to delete an entire line. This is helpful in fewer circumstances than being able to do to delete individual words, but that’s also an important one to know.

2. Practice on 10fastfingers.com

All right, tip number two for improving your typing speed is by discovering a website called 10fastfingers.com. And semi-regularly doing typing tests on here. I discovered this website when I was, I think, 13 years old.

 I am 26 now. So basically half a lifetime ago, I discovered this website. And I think at the time, my speed when I was in like the eighth grade was about 70 words per minute, maybe 80, it was between 70 and 80 words per minute, ’cause I was still a nerd at that point. But just a few times a month, I’ll just hop onto 10fastfingers and do some practise, do one of these typing speed tests.

How I am Typing Really Fast (156 Words per Minute)
How I am Typing Really Fast (156 Words per Minute)

And just over time, my typing speed has just improved exponentially, or not exponentially, has improved linearly based on just practising the tests. So let’s do one now and I’ll guide you in real time and then we’ll speed up the rest of it so you don’t have to sit through all of it. Okay, clearly I’m not gonna get above 145 in this session. I feel like it’s ’cause I’m quite hot right now.

But anyway, this is how 10fastfingers works. But yeah, a few months ago, a friend of mine, Angus was on about 65 words per minute. And then just for once a week for about 10 minutes, he’s just been practising on 10fastfingers and his typing speed now is up to round about 95. So that’s about a 50% increase by practising 10 minutes here and there for the last few months.

So it’s very doable to get quite quick at typing when you’re doing these tests somewhat regularly.

Tip #3 Practice on keybr.com

Tip number three is another website called Keybr which is like a typing lesson type website. I don’t spend a lot of time on this personally. I mostly prefer to use 10fastfingers, but this is quite nice, it sort of trains your typing speed based on what your own weaknesses are. So let’s switch keyboards back.

What it’s doing, if we look over here, it says, “Lessons key set” and it select a few keys. And current key is E. And so I’ll just do a little bit of it first and then I’ll guide you how it works. So over there, my speed was a 104.2. Made one error, this was my score, whatever, but the point is, is that it’s worked out, essentially, it was just testing me on E, N, I, T, R, L.

Now it’s gonna test me on S and a few other keys and we’ll see how I do on that. So you saw over here that my speed was 75, gain was minus 26. And so what it’s doing is that as I’m typing, it’s figuring out which specific letters on the keyboard I’m struggling with, and then it’s gonna train me on those more often.

Why Keybr.com

So this is a little bit frustrating because a lot of the words that it’s making you type out aren’t actually real words. And that’s why I prefer 10fastfingers for just general practice and also testing myself because it’s actual words. I think 10fastfingers is based on like the 300 most common words in the English language or something like that.

So more like a real world test and practise of typing speed. But this website keybr.com is good for getting those little bits that are a little bit more pesky. So I occasionally have a little dabble with this.

Tip#4 Try to use only the keyboard

Tip four is that if we wanna improve our typing speed and general digital productivity, productivity in front of computer, we wanna move away from using the mouse to using the keyboard for absolutely everything. So on Mac, the app that I like to use for this is Alfred, which is sort of a replacement to Spotlight.

 And so I don’t even guide my doc, I like never ever look at my doc to open up apps. Instead, if I wanna open an app, I’ll use Alfred + command + space bar and I’ll just type in the app. So if I want a Safari, if I want Spotify, I’ll just go command, space bar S-p-o-t, enter, Spotify comes up, command, space bar, “bear”, you know, and so on. So like, I will never ever use this screen to select apps.

I will almost never use the mouse to drag over to the dock to click it. And A, that just makes me so much more productive when I’m on a computer, because now I can think of doing something and then it immediately happens with the app, Alfred, I can also search for files and Spotlight does some of this. If I wanna do a Google Search or an Amazon Search, I’ll just type it in. So let’s see, what’s the, so if I type in “average typing speed”.

Properties of Alfred

The nice thing about Alfred which Spotlight doesn’t do crucially is that whatever you type in, if it’s not an app or a search term for like a file or something, it will automatically search Google for it. And so you can Google things very quickly. If I wanna search for something on Amazon, I will type in “ama and then type in, I dunno, “wheel of time”. And it’ll recognise I’m trying to search Amazon.

And so these day to day things that I’m doing, I’m doing a lot quicker because of Alfred, but alongside my own typing speed is improving because now I’m sort of interacting with the keyboard for everything I’m doing on a computer, rather than using a mouse to click. So even if I’m using any kind of new app, anytime I find myself having to use the mouse, I think in my head, okay, this is sub optimal and I will Google what the keyboard shortcuts are for that particular app, so that I can kind of learn the keyboard shortcuts as I go.

And I think switching to this keyboard first mentality which I did in around about 2012, 2013, that’s really helped improve my typing speed, ’cause now we’re just kind of keyboard warrior a lot more than being a mouse warrior.

Tip #5 Try to never look at the keyboard

Tip five is as you’re improving your typing speed, you basically never ever want to look at the keyboard. You know, the whole point of touch typing is that you are able to type whatever you want without looking at the keyboard.

And I think it’s very tempting to look at the keyboard initially, but like, even if you’re really slow, I think the way to train the muscle is by going slower, but not looking at the keyboard unless for example, you make a mistake and you really have to, because what we’re training is, we’re not really training our ability to see where the keys are and hit them, we’re training our ability to not see where the keys are and hit them.

And so like in the past, when my typing speed was slower, I used to give myself the ability to look at the keyboard when I needed to, but now I kind of force myself, no, I’m not allowed to look at the keyboard and I will always try and kind of correct mistakes even without looking at the keyboard because correcting mistakes is an important part of improving our own typing speed.

Tip #6 Fingers to correct resting position

All right, tip number six is that we always wanna be returning our fingers to the resting position of A, S, D, F, J, K, L, semicolon. And this is very easy to do because on most key, basically all keyboards, the F and the J keys are gonna have these little bits on them. So your index fingers of the left and right hand can always return to this position.

And I think this is just a, this generally, it’s kind of like when you’re playing a piano, you wanna return to the rest position. Like this is the rest position. And it’s easy enough to get here by feeling for these little indentations on the F and the J key from wherever you are on the keyboard.

Tip#7 Try to make noise

Tip number seven is a little bit weird and that is try to make noise. So I’m not sure how legit this advice is in terms of like a professional typist. But to be honest, I’ve always found that, when I’m typing loudly, I tend to type faster.

 And if it’s like a quiet room or a lecture or something and I’m trying not to make noise, then I end up typing a lot slower. And I dunno if this has something to do with the noise but I think just the mentality of, I’m typing as loudly as I can in a way. I don’t know, at least for me, it helps me get into the mindset of sort of like, typing typing harder.

 It ends up being a lot louder on a mechanical keyboard like this, but even on a sort of less loud keyboard, I tend to hit the keys with quite a lot of force. Possibly I’m being a bit inefficient because in theory, any excess force is wasted force, but I find that, yeah, when I’m trying to be loud, my typing speed just gets better. So maybe that’s another tip that you guys can experiment with.

Tip #8 Treat it as a game

And finally, we always wanna be treating improving our typing speed kind of like game, and we always wanna be improving. Like for me, I know the next stage of my improvement as a typist’ cause I’m trying to hit 200, I think 200 words per minute would be a good thing to aim for. I think the next stage for me is to use my left pinky more often, ’cause with the ASDF method, what you’re supposed to do is you’re supposed to use your pinky to hit the A key, the Q key, the one, two and shift.

But really the only thing I use my pinky for is to hit the shift key and I will use my left ring finger for hitting, you know, Q, A, Z, one, two. So. Yeah, basically, I reserve my pinky just for shift, and that’s probably suboptimal, like people say you should use your pinky more often. So even though my typing speed is quite high, sort of 130s to 140s in this session, 150s on a good day, I’m still trying to improve. And I kind of treat it as a bit of a game.

And I think that’s one of the most important things, like it’s a skill that can be improved and my life has significantly improved since I developed the ability to type fast. So, yeah, I would just encourage you to treat it like a game, treat it like a constant thingy of improvement and then you too will type like a productivity grease monkey.

Tip #9 To Be More Productive

And finally tip number nine, little bonus tip for you guys, is that, well why are we trying to type faster? Usually because, well I mean, apart from trying to attract a spouse, we’re typing faster because we want to be more productive. But as I said at the start of the article, being more productive isn’t just about how fast you can kind of like, bash the keys on a keyboard, it’s also about a load of other things.

The productivity equation, as I like to call it is productivity equals useful output divided by time multiplied by the fun factor. And if you wanna learn more about my own tapes of productivity, you should definitely check out my productivity Skillshare class, which is all about the fundamentals of productivity, and in that we talk about the equation, we talk about a mental model of the pilot, the plane and the engineer, which is how I like to think about productivity.


 And we talk about the three myths, the three powers and the three laws of productivity. I think so far about 10,000 people have taken that class and it’s got like amazing reviews. If you wanna check out that class for free, you should hit the link below to get a free two month trial of Skillshare who are kindly sponsoring this article.

To be honest, I plug Skillshare even when they don’t sponsor my articles because I have four classes on Skillshare right now, we’ve got a productivity class, a study for exams class, a class on how to use Anki, which is an amazing flashcard app and a class on how to edit articles exactly like this one.

So by signing up to a two month free trial of Skillshare, you can watch hours and hours and hours of the rest of my content, if that’s what you want. And you should definitely check out my productivity class. My mate, Thomas Frank as another productivity class which is really good, ’cause ultimately improving our typing is more about trying to make ourselves more productive than just the mechanical task of improving our typing.

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