How to Boost Productivity with Your Keyboard

Sometimes the biggest changes come from the smallest, most surprising items.

Stever Robbins
4-minute read
Episode #439

Optimize Your Digital Workspace

Now, you’re typing less, faster. And now … smartphones! I just love typing on smartphones. No, I don’t. I really, really hate typing on smartphones phone. I’ve tried all the keyboards and even the best ones—Swiftkey and Nintype from the iPhone store—are still awkward enough that typing speed is a fraction of what it is on a real keyboard. That’s not even including typos. Or autocorrect. How convenient. Autocorrect actually works about 80% of the time. The other 20% of the time, it turns my correctly spelled words into other words that I did not type. “Please pass the jam” becomes “I worship Satan!” with a cute little upside down pentagram emoji. I do not worship Satan. And I don’t even know why an upside down pentagram emoji exists. And it doesn’t matter because all I want is the jam!

So don’t type on your phone or tablet. Just, stop it. If you must use it, use a text expander as much as possible. When it’s a phone environment, you want to type as few characters as humanly possible to get your result.

Use Pre-Written Replies

Some phones also have pre-written reply messages that you can send when you reject an incoming call. Customize those! By default, they “I’m in a meeting, Call me back later” or “I’m driving. Can’t talk now.” Have those messages convey useful information and increase your social status, all at once. “I’m meeting with Justin Bieber. Have your people call my people later” or “My chauffeur is driving while I place stock trades to arbitrage the recent news out of Washington. Can’t talk now.” With a single tap, you’ll be the envy of all your friends.

To learn more about text expanders across all your devices, check out the Get-it-Done Guy episode on smartphone text expansion.

Buy a Good Keyboard

Now that you’ve sworn off smartphone typing, you’re back to your desk. And you’re touch typing. You can use the keyboard that came with your computer, but that was made by Silicon Valley, where the only real concern was how to charge you top dollar while selling you utter dreck. You want a real mechanical keyboard that gives you both audible and tactile feedback. The right keyboard can increase your typing speed tremendously. Mine is a Das Keyboard 4 Professional with Cherry MX Brown switches. 

Try a mechanical keyboard. You’ll never go back to a sub-par, cheap-plastic keyboard again. I gave one to Intern MG and, three months later, he was living in a castle in the Netherlands. Coincidence? I think not.

And what’s also not a coincidence is that you’ll gain hours or days a year of productivity just by optimizing your typing. Learn to touch type. Type less. Don’t type on your smartphone, and use a text expander if you must. And above all, buy a good keyboard! After all, if you were going to perform open heart surgery, you wouldn’t use a K-mart scalpel, you’d use … never mind. Bad metaphor. Typing. It’s in everything you do. Speed up your fingers and you’ll be amazed at what happens next.

This is Stever Robbins. Follow GetItDoneGuy on Twitter and Facebook. I run programs to help people develop the kick-ass business skills they need to create an extraordinary life. If you want to know more, visit SteverRobbins.com.

Work Less, Do More, and have a Great Life!


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT. 

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