Life Hack - Cut your Input time
So you want to get more done?
It seems that every single life hack blog post in the last decade has fetishised this. So, naturally, I am going to tell you the truth - Cold showers do boost your testosterone and will make you a million dollars.
Now that that's out of the way, I'm going to change your life today by teaching you some computer hacks that are going to get you so much more done that you won't even know what hit you.
These are real, raw, and will take you time to master. Nothing is free in life, except the extra time you're going to get in a couple years by utilizing the knowledge I'm dropping today.
Ready? Well then let's begin.
1. Learn how to Type
I mean really type.
Most people type at around 40-50 words per minute. What if you could type 100?
Do you see what I'm getting at?
You just doubled your productivity out of the gate.
It's easier said than done, of course. It takes time, a lot of practice, and an intention to get better while practising good habits. This was the sticking point for me for a long time - I would be like "I'm a good typist, I can type 70wpm", when in actuality, I had bad habits that were limiting me to that speed.
I looked deeply at myself in the mirror one day, and realized that I needed to correct the fact I wasn't using my pinkies to hit characters and that I was only using one shift key (yes, there's two for a reason). Not only that, but I looked at the keyboard all the time, and that was giving me tremendous neck pain.
I fixed all of this with intentional practice.
I practiced for months to get to the point where I am consistently around that 90 wpm mark, and I am still improving to this day.
There's a couple sites I've used that are really good, and they are below:
Type in a competition, and race people around the world so you can really see how slow you are compared to some kid in Mumbai.
I like this one, it's a new one, minimalist, and very smooth.
This is the classic one, the one that all others seem to be modelled from.
I put this as number one in my productivity hacks because you can get REAL improvement and results with this one FAST. I'm talking in a couple weeks of practice, you can double your output. That's massive.
2. Use a text editor, and learn Vim.
Classic Microsoft word, Google Docs (especially Google Docs), and other WYSIWYG editors will not cut it if you want blazing speed. They are what the masses use because they are accessible, but not because they are particularly good at what they do.
(For those of you asking why not Google Docs, two reasons: 1. There's input lag when you actually type fast that's truly infuriating, and 2. Google...)
Here's the thing - no matter what job you do, you are probably manipulating text. If you are a programmer, a writer, or just someone that works with emails, you are writing a lot.
I personally write in the neighbourhood of 4-5000 words a day between emails, programs I'm writing and the documentation that goes along with that, verbiage for sites, my books, and more.
If you are serious about actually being productive, you need to use a serious tool for this.
Enter text editors. If I can get you to try one, then my job is accomplished.
Most are not out of the box crazy different than Word, but they offer extensibility. You can add plugins that make them whatever you could dream of.
Feel free to check out Sublime Text, VS Code, Atom, or Notepad++
There are dozens of editors out there, but there is only one that really reigns supreme, and that would be Emacs with a Vim emulation layer (evil-mode).
Nothing even comes close.
You are not going to get here overnight though.
If you've never even used a text editor, you're probably going to be saying "what in the world are you talking about, you're telling me to use software from the 80s!?"
There's a reason that it's still around today, and that's not because of hipster nostalgia (well, partially because of that).
It's truly the best system there is for getting work done.
You can make this whatever you want it to be. There's thousands of plugins to add, to play around with, and to create a sandbox that you might never leave (there are people that effectively use Emacs as their operating system.)
Vim creates a completely new way of using a keyboard - You don't ever have to leave the home row to your mouse or arrow keys ever again. You have now saved yourself years of wrist strain, carpel tunnel, and heartache.
Not only this, but you can get around a document with exceptional ease and speed. You can edit and create at the speed of thought. You won't believe what you can do if you learn this system. And, there's always things to learn. I have been using Vim for 3 years, and I still learn things everyday about better ways to do things, how to better move around, and how to better get more out of the program. It's an editor for life.
You're in for a learning curve and a half, though - but that's not a bad thing. Your brain was meant to learn and relearn stuff. Use it.
3. Time and Track your work
While I am writing this, I have 30 minute timer counting down. When that time is up, I will move onto other work for the day.
This incentivises concentrated effort, focus, and work on what I really need to be doing at any given moment of the day.
A computer is a distraction to the vast majority of people. The internet is a playground of completely unexplored potential.
I get sucked into it from time to time, I am no saint.
But - you can use a computer as a tool, or you can let it use you through the likes of social media.
These three things will greatly improve your productivity in all your writing and creating endeavours. If you liked this post, check out How I write and see the system in action.