Nothing is more frustrating than having to slow down when you want to go faster.

You drive down the freeway going the speed limit. Suddenly you see the red glow of brake lights cascading through the traffic in front of you. You slow to a crawl. Sometimes the slow-down is a wreck and sometimes it is construction. It does something to your forward momentum.

A computer is a tool used to do things with more efficiency and less drag. You sit down, peck along at the keyboard, and churn out documents. But then you come to a bottleneck.

For technology, the primary bottleneck is the user. He has to stop, open programs and click on a mouse. Each of these is the same effect as the flash of the brake lights on the highway.

How do you eliminate the bottlenecks in your computing life?

Learn to touch type. No matter how fast your computer, unless you can touch-type you are the one that slows it down. Of all the school courses which have paid dividends many times over it was a 10th grade typing class. Little did I realize at the age of 15 it would become my primary daily tool fifty years later. Google “typing program” and see what you get. It is worth investing time learning to type faster.

Utilize keyboard shortcuts. All programs have keyboard shortcuts. In Windows they are the control key plus another key. For instance,

  • Control+O opens a document.
  • Control+C copies text.
  • Control+V pastes text.
  • Control+P prints a document.
  • Control+X closes a document.
  • Control+Z undoes the last action. (This is my favorite).

In Mac, use the command key rather than control. Gmail has its own set. By keeping your hands on the keyboard, you are so much more efficient than shifting to a mouse.

Let programs type for you. With my Mac, I utilize two programs that help speed  up my work. One is Alfred which allows me to have a speed key to open up programs with little effort. By pressing the option-spacebar and typing the first letter, I can open up any application on my computer. The same setup works through Windows. (Right click on the desktop icon, choose properties, and click on shortcut key.)

The second program is TextExpander. By setting up snippets, I can enter complete sections of text with one or two keystrokes. I can insert my name, address, or even insert routine email text. It has been a tremendous help. In Windows, programs like PhraseExpress are available that do the same thing.

For some this sounds like an obsession. However, things which make you more effective are always valuable. Try speeding up when you feel things slow down.