I was 12 years old when my friend first read a book by Terry Pratchett. It was in his zany discworld saga of novels, which involves a host of weird and unusual characters. One character in particular, I was told, was incredibly fit and healthy. His reasoning? He was too lazy to become overweight, and to have to carry all of that excess weight around with him. It also required far less effort to do things with great, big, huge muscles, so he went to the gym so that he could continue to be extraordinarily lazy.
It wasn’t until much later that I found that the character was man by the name of Victor Tugelbend, in the book, Moving Pictures (here’s an affiliate link if you fancied checking it out)*. I am a fan of Victor Tugelbend. He knew, far before the world of productivity bloggers took off, that the ultimate route towards a productive lifestyle was to be as lazy as possible.
Isn’t that, really, what productivity is all about? Putting in the least amount of effort to do things as efficiently as possible, so that you can maximise your free time doing more of what you love? The best form of lazy productivity that I’ve found, so far, is by increasing my typing speed.
Why does it help? What are some easy ways to improve your typing speed?
Why type fast?
The answer is so simple. The faster that you’re able to type, the quicker you can jot your thoughts down onto a Word or Google Doc. The quicker you can get your thoughts down, the more efficient you will be working – and therefore, the quicker you will get things done.
Now, you can’t simply type fast to be more productive; you also need to be able to think quickly. But the more practice that you have with fast typing, the more used to working at this speed your brain will be. Like with learning music, or a language, or anything else, thinking is a skill that needs to be trained. Hardly anyone is going to naturally be good at thinking; that’s why we have schools – so we can train young people to be good, critical thinkers.
The more that you work on your typing speed, the faster you will be, the quicker you will be able to work, and the more time you will have for the fun things in life.
How to type fast!
Personally, because I’ve spent so much time working with computers – whether that’s through writing, planning lessons or during my time at University – my typing speed has naturally improved. Some of us will be less fortunate in our lives though; some of us won’t naturally be exposed to processes that will increase our typing speeds, yet we still wish to learn how to type fast. For instance, if your job is in manual labour, but you want to write a bestseller on the side, you’re unlikely to get much time to tinker with your keyboard skills.
With that in mind, it’s time to turn to training.
There are plenty of online destinations that you can use to increase your typing speed, but my choice would be tenfastfingers.com. The website will present you with a string of words, and your task is to type them out as quickly as possible. You’ve only got a minute to do this. Practicing on this website for ten minutes a day – or even less if you’re truly swamped – will do two things:
- It will give you practice with typing out random words in a row. This is great for helping you to naturally memorise where each key is, since you won’t be sticking solely to the most popular letters. I quite often impress my students by not looking at the keyboard as I type – it’s a great party trick, but will also cut down on the thinking time spent between noticing which letters you need to type, thinking about them and finding them on the keyboard to start typing.
- It’s regular practice with a variety of keys, so your fingers will memorise the motion of moving quickly to find them, quickly improving your typing speed.
Typing help from a friend
Daily practice is, definitively, the best way to increase your typing speed. It’s helped me get to a whopping 100 words per minute (WPM) on iPad – and 110WPM on desktop, but if you’re willing to invest a bit of cash, your keyboard choice could go a long way.
When I changed my desk setup to be more productive during Lockdown Three, I initially started with an old keyboard that my Dad had lying around. The keys were clunky and required some pretty hard presses, significantly impairing my typing speed. However, I then upgraded to a basic Dell keyboard, with much softer keys, and – wow – what a difference!
They say that a builder shouldn’t blame his tools, but using a power drill instead of a regular one doesn’t exactly hurt the house-building process.
(Can you tell that I have zero insight into the kinds of tools that builders use?)
What makes fast typing so lazy?
Really, what makes typing a superb bit of lazy productivity is that it’s incredibly low effort versus what you will get out of it. Spending ten minutes a day practicing fast typing is far easier than creating a Bullet Journal, following a strict meal plan and batch-cooking/cleaning routine.
They’re all invaluable means of making you more efficient, but learning to type quicker is where you should start first if you want a low effort means of improving your productivity.
Disclaimer: any links marked with a * are Amazon affiliate links. Ordering after clicking them may give me a small kickback at no extra cost to you.