Fifteen years or so ago, I was typing something on my computer with my friend Mike Campanelli looking over my shoulder. "Are you crazy?" he asked. I had no idea what he was referring to. "You spend all that time on the computer and you type like it's the first time you've seen one. I can't believe how much time you are wasting right now, with me standing here. Add that up over the course of a day or month."
Being into those kinds of practical metrics, Mike did some quick math. Very conservatively, I spent 30 minutes a day actually typing. That's 10 hours a month. More than a day. That's a lot.
I did the most mature thing I was capable of after being attacked like that. "Yeah? Let's see you type," I challenged. He did. Almost lit the keyboard on fire. How'd he do that, I thought "Mavis Beacon teaches typing," he said, anticipating my question.
I sent for the Mavis Beacon typing course (on floppy disk!) and put about 10 hours into it over the next two weeks. Before I started the program, I was typing about 20 WPM (words per minute). After the program I was up to 60 WPM. What a difference! I type a lot now, as you can probably tell. I'm fast and pretty accurate, peaking at around 85 WPM. That's four times faster than before I learned to power type. (Writing a book and keeping an active blog sure keeps your typing chops in shape!) If you'd like to check your typing speed and effectiveness go here.
Last week, working all day with a client through a series of meetings, I kept running notes. I sent them to my client the next day. A few typos here and there, but I captured the whole day.
Taking notes also keeps me 100% focused on what is going on at meetings or one the phone. No time for my mind to wander, unless pondering is the task at hand. I keep notes of phone calls as well. I've got notes on most business phone calls I've had for the past ten years.
I can't tell you how many business people I've seen over the years, mostly on planes and in airports, struggling to find the keys just to reply to an email message. It's painful to watch. I haven't done any research on this, but my guess would be Millennials would have much better command of the keyboard than the average Boomer. Mavis is still around, but maybe she has only a few more productive years.
A few weeks ago Mike and I reminisced about that original discussion. Both he and I have quirks when we type. Pretty much the same thing for both of us-odd use of the shift keys.
Maybe I'll download the current version of Mavis and get myself a tune-up. 100 WPM sounds pretty sweet.
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