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Productivity Tips For Maximum Speed

Need For SpeedEveryday we use tools that help create a frictionless route from our brains to the greatest publishing platform available to human kind: the web. These tips will transform you from novice to ninja Let’s get started!

Speed is Based on Repetition

Getting faster at something is usually means getting better at it first. This means that in order to become faster we should make it a point to learn things not at the last minute, but instead, as a constant practice.

1. Keyboard Shortcuts

Taking the time to learn keyboard shortcuts is vital. Once you become a keyboard person it’s difficult to go back. Seriously. The whole world will slow down to a snail’s pace once you have mastered your keyboard. It might take some time for your mind to get its wrapped around certain tasks but the sooner you do you’ll be shaving seconds off your workflow.

At the highest level it’s important to learn system level shortcuts like CUT, COPY, PASTE. (CTRL-X, CTRL-Y, and CTRL-V respectively). With this in your arsenal you’re ready to begin moving up the ladder of text manipulation. Our goals is to keep our hands on the keyboard and not have to jump to the mouse when we want to move the cursor around. This ensures that our eyes aren’t darting around trying to figure out where we left the mouse.

If you’re using a Mac the following should help you move your text cursor around.

  • Jump to beginning of a line – Command+Left Arrow
  • Jump to end of a line – Command+Right Arrow
  • Jump to beginning of current word – Option+Right Arrow
  • Jump to end of current word – Option+Right Arrow
  • Jump to beginning of all text – Command+Up Arrow
  • Jump to end of all text – Command+Down Arrow

If you’re using a PC the following will do the same thing:

  • Beginning of the text — Ctrl+Home
  • End of the text — Ctrl+End
  • Beginning of the line — Home
  • End of the line — End
  • Beginning of the previous word — Ctrl+Left Arrow
  • End of the next word — Ctrl+Right Arrow

Selecting text on both platforms is easily done by holding the Shift key.

Application Specific Keyboard Shortcuts

Want to really start cooking? Learning the shortcuts to apps that you use often is a going to make your workflow liquid fast. At this point, using Gmail without keyboard shortcuts is a bit like typing with boxing gloves on.

Once you’ve turned Keyboard shortcuts on in Gmail, you can take a look at the shortcut menu. Entering “SHIFT-?” will show you all of the shortcuts available to you.



Gmail Keyboard Shortcuts Menu

I certainly don’t use all of these. But the ones that I do use help me process the high volume of email that I get on a daily basis. Using only “J” and “K” to navigate up and down my inbox, and using “O” to open means that I can jump into emails, and respond (“R”) at lightning speed.

Like all keyboard shortcuts, the learning curve can take a few hours, but once you get started with them, it’s difficult to imagine life without them.

2. Using Special Software

On both the PC and Mac there are application launchers that will can save you clicks by mapping keyboard shortcuts to folders, program files, or actions. On the Mac, Launchbar, and Quicksilver are the most popular and on the PC Launchy and Executor are analagous.

Regardless of which software you use it’s important to learn it and use it. Part of creating speed in your workflow comes down to knowing that when you enter a few keystrokes something will happen. Creating an environment where you’re no longer slowed by useless clicking and moving windows will turn you into a power user.

3. Your Data Everywhere.

Part of being fast is having your data everywhere. Often this is called cloud computing. Keeping your data with you via Dropbox, and Google Drive, iCloud, Skydrive, Evernote, or the application of your choice is a no brainer.

Remember, you can’t act on it if you don’t have access to it. So whatever system you choose make sure that you can move data back and forth without friction or syncing issues, this will ensure that you’re workflow and system is bulletproof, which in turn means that you are unstoppable.

We hope that these tips help to improve your workflow. Have any suggestions for us? Feel free to send us an email or leave a comment below!


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