More efficient, more productive – in praise of touch typing

Up to 2001, one of the most used keys on my keyboard was Backspace.

I was a hunt-and-peck typist. I didn’t think I was a slow typist. I used more than one finger on each hand which helped. But I made lots of mistakes. And lots of mistakes meant lots of backspacing. So many mistakes that my right middle finger began to hurt both from the frequency of hitting Backspace and, I must admit, from the ferocity in which it got hit as I got ever more frustrated at lack of progress.

So I taught myself to touch type using some freeware. It took about six weeks to become reasonably proficient.

I’m now a much quicker typist. I touch type at least twice as quickly as I hunt-and-pecked. I’m not a record breaker, but I can get about 70 words per minute.

I make fewer mistakes. And I pick up any mistakes immediately because I’m able to watch the screen nearly all of the time.

A huge advantage of this is that my focus is maintained; thoughts don’t get lost.

There have been times when I’ve had to take a lot of notes for committees. Touch typing means I captured more fully what was said. In the past I would have hand written notes, transcribing them later. With touch typing, notes were prepared in real time. It didn’t take long afterwards to do a quick edit of spurious material. This led to some impressed committee chairs who got the draft minutes on the same day, when their own minds were still fresh as to what was said and agreed.

The death of keyboard typing has long been predicted. But it’s slow in coming, if at all. In the meantime, I’d strongly recommend learning it.

Maybe it could even be added to CPD programmes!

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