Many jobs out there today (and not just work-at-home jobs!) require you to have some skill as a typist – decent typing skills, at least. We live in a computer-oriented society, and that’s even more true for home-based jobs. Our greater connectivity to the whole wide world through personal computers has created these many work-at-home opportunities for us – we just need to learn how to take advantage of them! So let’s get down to basics: typing. How to type faster. How to become more accurate.
Happily, there are tons of methods and (FREE!) help online to help you improve your typing skills. I’m going to share a few with you today to give you a leg up on the competition.
Get the Right Equipment – for You
When you’re going to spend a lot of time typing – especially when it’s important to type quickly and accurately – you need to work with equipment that’s best suited to you. Choose a keyboard you’re comfortable with, with keys big enough for your fingers. If you will be primarily working on a laptop, this is a crucial part of your laptop choice. You may also wish to choose something ergonomic. Perhaps even consider a mechanical keyboard – keyboards with solid resistance make you a more conscious typist. (Not stiff keys, but keys with enough resistance that you register each time you activate the key. Keys with poor resistance can lead to accidental activation – that is, typos in your text!)
Learn Proper Finger Placement
I’m not going to stress this one too much – there are multiple “right” ways to type, and the best one tends to be whatever works for you and doesn’t stress your hands unduly. However, some people argue the keys to speed and accuracy are lining up your fingers on the keys correctly and using the correct fingers to reach the other keys. TypingClub is a free site that will teach you proper finger placement while learning touch typing.
Practice, Practice, Practice.
There’s no way to get around this one. The first and best method to improving your typing skills is simply to do more of it. Write emails to family members. Join a Facebook group with daily interaction. Choose your favorite passage from a book you’re reading and type it up on your computer. Whatever you do, do it daily. Pay attention. Learn the keyboard better by using it for fun, and train your fingers to move as quickly as your thoughts.
Here’s an exercise using that favorite book passage I mentioned:
- Choose your favorite paragraph from a book, magazine, whatever you’re reading.
- Open a blank text document to type the paragraph into.
- Type the paragraph once while timing how long it takes you.
- Hit enter a couple of times.
- Do it again, and try to do it faster. Time yourself again.
- Hit enter a couple of times.
- Do it one last time.
By doing this regularly – say, once a day – you’ll challenge yourself to type faster. You’ll also be able to see how many mistakes you make from focusing primarily on speed, while also familiarizing yourself with touch typing from a sample text. This kind of focus and practice should lead to improvement in keyboard familiarity, typing speed, and typing accuracy.
Warm Up & Take Breaks
Repetitive stress injury (RSI) is a thing – for an example, see carpal tunnel syndrome. If your livelihood depends on typing, take care of your hands and wrists! Make sure you do some stretches before long periods of typing, and be sure to take regular breaks. HealthLine covers some great stretches in “Stretches for Wrists and Hands.” You can even find some ergonomic wrist supports – braces that keep your wrists straight while typing. You can also make sure your posture is correct for typing by following this guide from WebMD. By taking care of your hands, you can ensure you’re typing at peak performance!
Don't Look at the Keyboard
I’ve mentioned touch typing a time or two – well, to be a good typist, you must learn to use your keyboard by touch. Eyes up, trained on what you’re typing and your computer screen, never on your fingers and keys. If you have the focus and discipline to become a touch typist, your speed and accuracy will strengthen along the way.
Use Free Online Typing Tools
There are so many free tools out there that evaluate your typing, and provide activities to help you improve. Use them! Here are a few of my favorites:
- TypingTest.com is one of the most popular sites for discovering your baseline WPM (words per minute) with just a 60-second test. They also offer free typer training.
- Key Hero is another great basic site – if you have an account, it stores all the data of your test performances so you can look back on your mistakes and improve.
- Typing Attack is a free game from TypingTest.com that lets you practice typing while training for speed and accuracy – basically, your little spaceship can only shoot the enemies coming after you if you type the word attached to them correctly. It’s more fun than it sounds!
- TypeDown is a similar game, except you must accurately type the list of words as quickly as possible to prevent the word stack from reaching the top of the screen.
- Typing.com – I mentioned TypingClub earlier. Typing.com is another robust and excellent site that offers free typing lessons for everyone from beginners to advanced typists.
There are even real-world typing classes you can take – just look at the continuing education catalog at your local community college – but I hear you. You want to MAKE money, not spend it! That’s alright because with these tips I’ve given you and the resources I’ve shared, you should be well on your way to improving. With daily practice and can-do spirit, you’ll have no trouble meeting the typing requirements of the next work-at-home job opportunity you discover!
Be sure to let me know which of my tips help you the most, and share your own strategies for improving as a typist!