If you are not familiar with it, touch typing is the ability to type with all your fingers and without the need to look at the keyboard as you go. Many people learn it during their school days, but many don’t. Those who don’t tend to use only two fingers to type, and some even need to look for the right key before pressing it.
Until last week I used to type with only two fingers as well. I was not bad with it (averaging 65 words per minute or so), but still I felt that it was necessary to switch to touch typing. Why? Because typing is where we spend most of our time these days, and even small improvements on your typing speed will translate into huge productivity gains.
Suppose that you spend three hours per day typing. That is around 15 hours per work week, 60 hours per month and 720 hours per year. If you increase your typing speed by 30%, you would gain 216 extra hours of work every year. That is a lot.
If you are convinced, here are some resources that I found while trying to learn touch typing. The first one is a test to see how fast you can currently type: speedtest.10-fast-fingers.com. This one is useful to track your progress.
For the learning part I used this site: typeonline.co.uk. It comes with five basic lessons that will teach you the basics of touch typing, including all the finger positions. Each lesson also comes with ten exercises that you can use for practice.
Now the trick is: once you know the positions and can type with all your fingers without looking at the keyboard, albeit slowly, you need to make the switch and never return to typing with two fingers again.
In the beginning you will feel miserable, but this is the only way to go. For example, with two fingers I was able to type 65 words per minute, and as of today with touch typing I am down to 30 words or so. It is a pain, but I am sure that within 2-4 weeks I will be back to 65 words per minute, and hopefully within some months I will be able to increase it to 100 words per minute, which is considered to be pretty fast.
If you are still typing with two fingers, make an effort to learn touch typing. I am sure it will be worth it. For the rest of you guys who already touch type, what is your wpm (words per minute) speed?