DTT 1.0 – Keep your hands on the keyboard! DTT Week 1

Our first Daily Tech Tip theme this week will be Keeping your hands on the keyboard!

Usually when I tell people how important it is to learn keyboard shortcuts and to cut down on the travel time your hands spend going from keyboard to mouse to keyboard, they look at me like I have two heads.

Truth is, keyboard shortcuts will save you in travel time, and alleviate many unecessry steps

Travel Time

Moving your hands to and from the mouse when they are normally situated on the keyboard will substantially cut down on your productivity.  Our brains are good at focusing on one type of task at a time, and switching between input methods will inevitably cut down on productivity over time.

The Downsides of the Mouse

The mouse is an inefficient means of passing commands to your computer.  We use it regardless of this fact because we think it’s easier to click on visual cues than to remember keyboard combinations.  We find it easier to remember visual cues (desktop icons, complex menu structures etc.) a lot easier than remembering sequences of commands.  Keyboard shortcuts will typically let you perform tasks with a single command, as opposed to navigating through multiple menus or moving your mouse to many different locations on the screen.

Move Faster and Look Awesome

Watching someone fly through a series of screens and perform countless actions without skipping a beat is usually very impressive.  Think watching computer geeks hopping onto your computer and doing 10 things at once, and fixing 3 problems in 2 minutes.  These people aren’t doing anything special except for the fact that they have taken it upon themselves to analyze the repetitive tasks they perform, and find the most efficient way of doing this.  Keyboard shortcuts are a very big part of this.  Just think of how impressive you will look when you start navigating screens and manipulating text without needing to move your mouse around the screen.

Adapt to Change

Icons, desktop shortcuts and menu hierarchies will change over time.  From different people’s computers to different versions of operating systems (Windows/OS X) or applications, you are bound to get bogged down looking for something that you’re used to being there that you just can’t find anymore.  Keyboard shortcuts rarely change.  Most of them are ingrained in system from the very beginning, having been around since before the mouse was even introduced.

Hopefully this week’s tips will address some of the tasks you repeat on a daily basis.  All we ask is that you latch onto each daily tip and try to use it throughout the day.  We’re confident that if you do just that, at the end of the week you will notice a great improvement in your ability to keep your hands on the keyboard, and to get more done in less time.