Once you put yourself on the path of radical self-improvement you start looking at the fundamentals. For me it was the realization that I couldn’t touch type. Having grown-up in the era of instant messaging, I learned typing the wrong way. While I was a fast typist my finger placement was completely random not relying on the home row that the keyboard provides. Bad techniques are hard to eliminate once imbibed. Now this is a generic enough skill that you should learn even if you aren’t a programmer given that you will type something.
So this winter I started working through drills on gtypist. Gtypist is a shell based utility that teaches you to type the proper way. Ratatype is a web based typing tutor that works well too. This was time well invested as now I can indeed touch-type and spend almost no time looking at the keyboard, thus boosting productivity.
The nice thing is once you start learning your tools you make use of the cues that the tools provide. In case of a standard qwerty keyboard I discovered the home row and the raised bars on the f and j keys. Those two bars alone give your fingers the entire map of the keyboard. This also highlights the need to slow down, be mindful and make use of the full potential that your tools offer. If I were to start all over again I would learn to type first.
If you liked this do read Being Craftsman the book. http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1139490631