The internet is filled with articles about all kind of productivity tips that will supposedly help you do things better and faster, that will help you finish things way quicker so that you can have more time for yourself, and all kind of cool ideas that don’t always end up helping you at all.
I’ve been trying to make use of some of those ideas many times in the past, in an attempt to improve the way I do things, but I never managed to get to a point where I save a bunch of time by using 3 different apps that I had to download or by writing god knows how many things on a to-do list.
However, there are two things that I learned how to do throughout the years that have been extremely useful, two things that helped me and still help me save a lot of time no matter what I do when I’m at my computer.
I’m talking about typing fast and using shortcuts.
In order to avoid telling you a big and boring story about how I started to use shortcuts and how I learned to type fast, I’m just gonna give you a bunch of examples that you can use yourself and see how easily some things become when using a computer.
First example is browsing the Internet. I’m using Google Chrome as my main browser as of right now, but most of the things I do in Chrome are applicable to other browsers, with small variations.
The main shortcut I use in pretty much any browser is CTRL+T . That allows me to open a new tab in case I want to go to another website while having the one I’m on still open. To do this you normally have to go to the upper part of your browser and click a “+” sign next to your last tab. If you’re working with your keyboard a lot, and you constantly need to open new tabs, grabbing your mouse every time and creating a new tab can become tedious, annoying, and can waste you some time for no reason.
Instead, what you can do is simply use CTRL+T to open the tab without even moving your hands from your keyboard.
Being able to type fast can be a great way of becoming even faster at browsing the internet. If you use the shortcut I told you about above, and you’re able to type really fast, getting on and out of websites really quickly is gonna be a piece of cake for you.
That, in combination with using another shortcut, CTRL+W for closing a tab you no longer need, and CTRL+TAB or CTRL+1/2/3/4 to switch between tabs or choose a specific one you may want to close can help you become extremely efficient at using a browser.
Let’s see another shortcut: CTRL+F
This activates the “search” option in most browsers. Let’s say you are on Wikipedia reading a big article, but you’re only interested in reading about a specific term. Instead of having to read through it all, or manually search for the term you want by scrolling down and looking at every line, you can simply press CTRL+F, then write down the word you need and press Enter. Then the browser will get you to each instance of that word that appears throughout the article.
Let’s step away from the browser a little and let’s go into the e-mail world. Let’s say you have to write a fairly long e-mail, and while you’re able to type quickly, editing the e-mail, deleting misspelled words and selecting certain words you want to edit is extremely annoying.
Well, in this case you can use simple shortcuts like CTRL+BACKSPACE or CTRL+DELETE to delete entire words, instead of individual letters. You can also use CTRL+SHIFT+LEFT/RIGHT ARROW to select entire words, in case you need to let’s say copy certain stuff. I’m not even gonna talk about CTRL+C and CTRL+V, I’m assuming most people know about those. Also, CTRL + ARROW KEYS can help you navigate through words a lot faster, without selecting or deleting them.
CTRL+N opens a new window in your browser, or creates new projects in all kind of different programs. Pressing the SPACE key on your keyboard can help you navigate down really quickly on a website, if you want to get to the bottom of if without using your mouse. That, or you can press your HOME or END keys to literally go to the beginning or end of the page.
Now, here are a few shortcuts for your Windows (if that’s what you’re using, if not, I’m sure you can find similar shortcuts for your operating system), like WINDOWS KEY+D to put everything on your taskbar and get to the desktop quickly, or the WINDOWS KEY + TAB to have some sort of a “fancy” alt-tab experience with the ability to see all the windows that are open and choose which one you’d like to focus on better either with your arrow keys or with the mouse.
You get the point.
Being able to type really fast, in combination with knowing and using a bunch of shortcuts can make using a computer a lot easier. You will be able to do a bunch of stuff without having to constantly switch between a keyboard and a mouse, and you’ll be able to get a lot more done, a lot quicker.
If you’re interested in learning to type faster, I’m sure that there are a lot of articles out there talking about that. In my particular case, the way I learned was by typing a lot, either in games, or whenever I wanted to write and publish an article.
When it comes to shortcuts, those you’ll have to learn by yourself by searching for them. It’s actually quite simple, just go on Google or whatever search engine you use, type the name of the program you’re using, followed by “shortcuts”.
That’s all. Two simple things you can do to boost your productivity and reduce the time you spend working.