Learn your keyboard shortcuts
We all use computers.
Most of us everyday.
However, are we using them efficiently? There’s always more you can do with a computer, such as using a text expansion app which I wrote about last week, but as far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing more beneficial for the average user than to learn and memorize your keyboard shortcuts.
There’s always more effective ways to use your current applications, and even great apps you’ve never heard off that could improve your workflow - but the best single way any person can improve how they’re utilizing their current computer workflow is by learning the shortcuts to the current applications their using. It’s amazing how much time you can save by using keystrokes rather than right clicking or scrolling through endless menus. I hope the benefits are obvious, so here are two methods I like to use when learning new keyboard shortcuts:
##Search the menu bar for shortcuts
One of the best places to find the most useful shortcuts is the menu bar. Under “File”, “edit” and the others, you’ll find the actions that the application creator decided were the most commonly used and most useful. You’ll find actions such as Save, Open, Copy, Paste, Paste and Match Style, Sync, etc. depending on the application you’re using.
By looking here first, you’ll be able to take inventory of the actions that will likely be the most useful.
##Use a shortcut finder application
On both the Mac and on Windows there are applications that can show you all of the available keyboard shortcuts for any application you’re using. There are normally more shortcuts available than what you’ll find in the menu bar, so applications like these can help you find any additional shortcuts you may not otherwise find. Below is an app for the Mac, and another for Windows that do these (I’m sure there are many good ones out there, so feel free to let me know of others in the comments below).
##Take the time to learn the habit
As with everything, all this talk is useless without action. However, learning new things can be overwhelming and can feel like a waste of time, but I promise you that you’ll never regret adopting a keyboard shortcut to replace a slow mouse click. I encourage you to take the time and learn just one new shortcut a week. By taking some of your four most common clicks and learning their shortcut instead, you’ll save yourself tons of time in just one month - and this is a benefit that you’ll continue to receive!
What’s even better is that most Mac programs (I can’t speak for Windows) keep similar shortcuts between them so by learning a new shortcut, you’ll often be learning a shortcut that applies to all of your applications!
I hope this helps encourage you to learn new keyboard shortcuts and speedup your computer work so you can get more done, and get to the many other important parts of life.