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Article published on Fri, 12 May 2023 09:32:28 GMT

Written by Bart Nijbakker

Working on a computer can seem complicated and time-consuming. This article will help you work a LOT faster.

Tips to permanently increase your productivity

Being productive and efficient is often a secondary objective, but it is a very important skill to have. By applying these tips, you may increase your speed by several times while working at a computer.

Many of these tips stem from personal experience. They might not all work for you though, so try them out and see what works best.

1. Take a typing course

Having fingers on the right keys and typing blindly will already increase typing speed enormously. This is most important, and is actually fundamental to all other skills.

Besides having higher typing speeds, it will also make your hands more familiar with the keyboard and help implement the other tricks of this list.

Taking a typing course is therefore a very valuable investment. I advise taking one sooner rather than later. Like many skills, the earlier you start implementing it, the better you will get.

2. Use keyboard shortcuts

Using keyboard shortcuts makes you a lot faster: instead of carefully moving the cursor to the right button, you now use muscle memory to access a function.

It is also more reliable than using the mouse, as it is easier to click wrong than it is to miss a physical key.

Because you no longer need to move your hands away from the keyboard, using shortcuts saves time and effort.

At the end of this article is a list of commonly used shortcuts.

3. Create your own keyboard shortcuts

Besides learning the default keyboard shortcuts, you can often define your own in the settings. These are often easier to memorize, because they may make more sense to you and fit your needs.

Using your own shortcuts, especially for repetitive tasks, makes you work a lot faster.

4. Experiment by yourself

Try things out. Find new shortcuts, fiddle around and use your talents to your advantage. After all, only you know what works best for you.

By looking around your software and trying functions out, you might find very useful features that you never knew were there. This way, you also learn more about how the software works, so you get better at solving problems which may occur.

5. Expert: Learn to use Vim

Warning: Vim is expert software. It has a steep learning curve and takes weeks to truly get started with. However, if you like a challenge with possibly enormous gains, give it a try.

When wondering why you should care about Vim, compare it to skills such as blind typing. It takes time, effort and discipline, but has many benefits once learned.

5.1. A small introduction to Vim

Vim is a text editor (among other things). It is often used by developers and system admins, but can also be very powerful for writers or journalists, for example. It is designed to be ergonomic and fast to use.

Vim makes heavy use of shortcuts, which makes editing text much faster and more efficient. It is so vast and full of features, that even long-time users do not know or use them all.

Here is a reasonably complete list of advantages:

5.2. How to get started with Vim

A "Getting started with Vim" tutorial is far beyond the scope of this article. Check out these videos instead to get started: Vim in 100 seconds by Fireship (YouTube / Invidious) and The Vim Tutorial - Part One - Basic Commands by DistroTube (YouTube / Invidious). There are also plenty of other good resources online.


A lot of these tips stem from personal experience. I have already been typing blindly and using shortcuts for a long time, but recently also started using Vim shortcuts, and can recommend it.

I have started to see the value in developing skills which may seem like a waste of time at first glance. So if you want to waste less time, then my advice is to make a one-time investment and learn some speed-up skills.

If you found this useful or have suggestions, please contact me.

Bonus: list of common keyboard shortcuts

This is a list of commonly used shortcuts on Windows and Linux.

Most shortcuts work for Mac as well, although the Cmd key is often used in place of the Ctrl or Alt key. For example, use Cmd + C to copy text or Cmd + Tab to switch to the next window.

Please contact me if you have any questions or suggestions about this list.

Keys explained:

1. Operating system

2. Managing windows

3. Web Browser

4. Opening, saving & editing files

5. Copying & pasting

6. Font styling

7. Text alignment

Creative Commons License

Web design and content © 2024 Bart Nijbakker.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
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