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Don’t Forget About the Keyboard

By: Jason Nesbitt

How long does it take your hand to go from your keyboard to your mouse? And, how long does it take your mouse pointer to find that oft-used menu item? How many clicks does it take to get there? Inconsequential minutia? Add it up over the course of your day — and then think again.

You probably know that the application that you basically live in throughout your 21st-century-work day includes that pre-internet functionality called keyboard shortcuts. Maybe you even realize that keyboard shortcuts could still be useful. Perhaps you even know a few, and use them, but don’t realize how much time they’ve been saving you. You’ve probably been meaning to learn a few more — when you have the time to get around to it. Well, when is that going to happen? As soon as you get bored of watching paint dry, you’ll probably start studying the list of keyboard shortcuts that your application provides. In other words, you aren’t going just get around to it without purposely carving out the time to do so, which means that you’re not going to be as productive as you could be.

Why not try another approach…

In this day and age, we are all looking for ways to save time, and we save time by developing shortcuts. Print out those keyboard shortcuts, pin them to your wall, just above or next to your monitor, and commit to learning one (just one) every day for the next month. Call it ‘keyboard shortcut month’ if you’d like. At the end of the day, when you find yourself sitting there staring off into space, and your eyes come back into focus, you may notice the list in front of you. Pick one, try it out a few times, and then cross it off your list. For extra credit, review the one you did yesterday. Before you know it, you’ll begin to wonder how you ever got through your workday without them.

Where do you find that list of shortcuts to pin to your wall? A lot of applications have them built into the ‘help menu.’ You may have to do a little digging, but if all else fails just Google something like “visual studio keyboard shortcuts.” Quickly, you’ll find a printable PDF. Print it out and pin it to your wall.

One month from now, with your boss or co-worker standing over your shoulder, you’ll look like the pro that you really are. Not to mention, you will save yourself an endless number of clicks, tons of valuable time and find that you are a more efficient worker than ever, all thanks to your keyboard shortcuts.

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