To Be More Productive, Just Type Faster
February 13th, 2004
Episode #12

You know the old saying, "time is money." I buy that (pun intended), big time. So, to me, wasting time is wasting money and I hate to waste either. That's probably why I spend a good deal of time -- more than is healthy -- trying to figure out how I can save time on this task or that.

And, since I spend the majority of my waking hours in front of a Mac, many of my best timesaving techniques have to do with my computer.

This one doesn't.

I'll share some time-saving tips for using your Mac another time. Today I will share perhaps the greatest productivity tip I've ever given you:

Type faster.

I know you think you type pretty fast. But do you type 60 or more words per minute with decent accuracy (say, 98%)? Because if you don't, you're not really typing, you're just using a keyboard to get stuff into your computer.

The faster you type, the faster you finish your work.

But raw speed is only part of the equation. Informal research conducted by the fictitious Dr. Mac Institute of Informal Research concluded that most of my friends and family spend more time correcting their mistakes than actually typing.

Learning to type faster and more accurately builds strong bodies two ways:

First and foremost, you'll type more words in less time. Duh. But second, (and more importantly), you won't have to stop every three seconds to backspace over your typos.

I typed 10 words a minute (with 20 mistakes a minute) when I got my first Mac. I quickly realized that I'd have to swallow my pride and learn to type properly if I was to get the most out of it. I bought a typing program and within 30 days I could type 60 w.p.m., with nearly 100% accuracy.

I can't recall the name of that program which is long gone from the Mac market anyway, but I do know of a couple of inexpensive programs that will almost certainly help you improve your typing.

Weasel words: I already type pretty well and it's hard to evaluate typing programs without using them extensively. I would do almost anything for you, gentle reader, but not that. However, I did play with them long enough to know that you can't go wrong. Either one will help you improve your typing as painlessly as possible.

There are trial versions of both programs (links below) so you can give them a good workout before whipping out your wallet.

Here they are:

Ten Thumbs Typing Tutor

Lighthearted, with a cartoon Viking theme, Ten Thumbs seems like the most fun, with two animated games to sharpen your keyboarding skills, and the usual array of lessons and reports.

Ten Thumbs Typing Tutor's lesson window may be garish but it's perfectly functional.
(Click any of the thumbnails for a larger image)

Ten Thumbs pair of typing games let you have fun while you learn to type better. What's not to like about that?

There's that Viking dude, and a Ten Thumbs' report for my last lesson.

Ten Thumbs seems like a good choice, especially if you have kids or, like me, behave like a kid more often than not. Its drills are solid, its games are clever and fun, and its price is certainly right. It may be a bit corny but it delivers what you need even if you're not a kid.

Ten Thumbs Typing Tutor. US$25.95. Runtime Revolution Ltd.

Master Key

Master Key is the least expensive of the bunch and it takes a more subdued approach that's utilitarian but effective.

Master Key eschews Viking mascots and fancy graphics for a straightforward (some might call it "dated") interface.

Master Key's reports tell you everything you need to know.

MasterKey even has a game -- ParaTyper -- that's fun and quite challenging.

Master Key offers everything you'll need to improve your skills at a low price and without much glitz.

Master Key: US$20.00. MacInMind.

So there you have it. Learn to type better and you'll:

…be more productive
…get more done in less time
…impress chicks (or dudes)
…get a higher-paying job
…get more…

Well, OK, the last three are pure speculation. But the first two are the real deal. Improve your typing skills and you will, without question, be more productive and get more done in less time.