I first learned to touch type when I was 10 (I'm now 23). When I was 18, I switched keyboard layouts, so effectively I did not know how to type again. Not only was I super slow, but I could barely create sentences.
However, with 1 hour of committed practice every day, in 2 weeks - just 2 weeks - I was able to touch type in a new keyboard layout, after having used the old one for the past 8 years, all day every day. That's a drastic change but it shows the power of typing.
Typing is hard when you first start but it will be the essential way of communicating when you are older. Incidentally, learning how to type will also help you get your work done faster.
It's taken me about 2 minutes to type this response, so you get a lot faster when you type a lot, and the limiting factor for me is now thinking and structuring this answer, not typing.
Make sure you clearly understand the task upfront. If you don't, it will take a lot longer to redo the work until it's done right. Part of this is making sure you ask the right questions to get clarity and to ensure that your interpretation is consistent with what is expected.
Agree with the above poster, it just takes a lot of practice. In high-school I had a hard time typing but then I took a typing course and learned how to type without looking at the keys. You should be able to google practice typing skills or tests and that should give you a way to practice on your own.
It also might help you to write your work and ideas on paper and then once you have your hand-written paper finalized, you can just concentrate on typing. It may seem like double work, but you can also take it as an opportunity to re-read what you wrote.
I think it's important to define the challenge you're facing. Is it that your typing skills are in need of some help? Or is it coming up with the right words, grammar, punctuation? Or do you need help thinking through what actually needs to be typed?
Once you know what the real challenge is, there's an answer! If it's about typing skills, talk to your teacher about whether you might be able to attend another class or get a tutor who can help you practice typing. If it's about grammar, spelling and punctuation, your teacher should be able to provide you with some great resources for learning this. If it's about thinking through what needs to be typed in the first place, I think this also could be helped by talking to your teacher.
Big point is know what the real thing is that you're struggling with, and then you can get specific guidance on how to work on the challenge!
Even a little bit of up front planning can help you get through your work faster, better and more efficiently. Before you leap into your task, take a few minutes to plan out what you need to do. This can be as short as a series of bullet points with a few words each, or a flow chart scrawled on a piece of scrap paper. If you want to get fancier, there are a number of free brainstorming programs available to help (I like Freemind myself).
Divide your work into tasks. Write them down in the order you need or want to do them. Then explain to yourself what you need to do to complete the task. This could be a quick list of things you need to look up, a summary of a longer answer you need to write, a formula you will need to use throughout the work, anything that can help plan out the work ahead.
By doing this, you are saving yourself the wasted time of wondering "what's next?" as you make your way through the tasks. The simple act of writing out the plan in advance helps keep a clear picture in your head. It also prevents you from getting hung up on one element of your work. Every task goes faster when you know where you are going and how to get to the finish line.
The short time you spend planning can save you a ton of time down the stretch and you'll likely have a better result on completion.
Agree with the first poster. There are awesome resources out there to help you become more efficient at keyboarding. Investing the time now will pay huge dividends down the road. Additionally, I would recommend learning keyboard shortcuts for the operating system that you'll most likely be using, your internet browser, and any other applications that you expect to use on a regular basis (for me, Microsoft Office shortcuts are incredibly helpful).
Here is a fun, free game that could help you get your keyboarding speeds up: http://www.holywowstudios.com/teachestyping/
Make a list. Jot down everything you have to do in no particular order. Sometimes it helps just to get it all down on paper. You may realize you have less to do than you thought - or it just may seem less overwhelming once you see it all written down. From there, I like to tick off the easiest, quickest tasks first. I find it gives me momentum and energy to put toward the harder tasks. Once you get in the groove, it's amazing how much you can accomplish in a short amount of time.
The reason for not working on paper is by typing something it is easier to distribute and make copies. The advantage of living in a digital age is you are able to make efficient back ups and quickly send things via email and other avenues to other people. It is more efficient and productive to type things meant for a group. There are collaborative tools like google docs that make team work much easier for remote and local teams.
A key to getting things done is to take time to plan ahead, it actually saves time to take the time to stop and focus and plan before you just start to rush to get things done. Organized work happens faster
My thoughts on typing are.. the future will hold more speech recognition technology and less focus on old fashioned typing.
You should focus on organizing your time and allotting specific times to things rather than worrying about if paper or typing are faster
Creating your own deadlines and working to make them happen is incredibly helpful as well
I won't go into the keyboard skills since it's been thoroughly addressed, but one easy way to improve your typing speed without it feeling like homework is to have IM conversations with friends.
On the time management question, I find it helpful to start each day by writing a to-do list. I prefer to use a pad and pen vs maintaining an electronic list, but there are many options, it's just a matter of preference. I also like to tightly manage my calendar and block off time for tasks. Google calendar is a great collaborative tool for this.
I've found it very helpful to prioritize the things on my to do list because often there aren't enough hours in the day to get it all done. In a school setting, study groups have been very helpful if we're focused on learning and completing our projects and homework. In a work setting, reaching out to coworkers and your manager to ask for help can be very effective! Your coworkers can share what helps them work more efficiently (and they are likely completing work quite similar to yours, so their advice is directly applicable) while your manager can help you focus on the most important things.
Hope this helps!
the key to finishing any amount of work within the expected time is to plan for it. And, by planning I mean defining 3 simple things as follows and then deciding on the best approach: 1. how much work is involved, 2. how much time one has to finish, and 3. any known issues that one foresees before starting the work or effort.
Now, to specifically answer the question around slow typing speed, the only way I know is to practice. One can choose any technique (of the many known techniques), but practicing that chosen technique is the key.
Here are a few quick tips: Create a daily gameplan/hierarchy of daily tasks and big bucket items. Start your day with quick wins and then go to the more complex. Organize your email folders to streamline communications by similar subjects or who they are from.
At the start of each day (or the night before) highlight the three or four most important things you have to do in the coming day. Do them first. If you get nothing else accomplished aside from your MITs, you’ve still had a pretty productive day.
Zac recommends the following next steps:
Believe it or not, there's a lot of people that struggle with managing work in a short period of time. Don't let this discourage you. It takes time to learn how to manage your work and optimize the time frame available. I have personally try different methods until i found one that works for me with my workload. Here's a simple way to tackle task management:
1) Write down all your task (on paper or in your computer).
2) Organize by priority.
3) Identify what, where and how you can gather all resources and requirements.
4) Execute the task accordingly.
You can perform this task every morning before you start your day. Practice this method until it's like a second nature to you. You can also make changes as necessary to suit your needs. Remember practice, practice, practice. Furthermore, task management is a great tool to have in your career.
In terms of typing, i'm pretty sure there's plenty of classes, training software and other tools available to help you. But the most important thing is to practice and to learn it the way you enjoy the most. For example, if you like to write letters or personal journal, you can use that task to practice your typing skillset.
Good luck and have fun.
Being clear on the objective of every task you take up is very important. Once you have that clarity, the next step is focusing on executing that task. Most often, people fail to get their tasks done because they are unclear or were not focused on their work and needed to redo their work. In your scenario of typing up something, if you have to repeat that work, it means your slowness is hurting you twice -- the first pass and the redo. Limit its effect on you by being clear to begin with so that your slow typing speed only affects you once ... on the first attempt.
You can also increase your typing speed with practice; sites like http://www.typingweb.com/ can help you in that regard.
I had taken typing class in high school but my typing speed really improved when I started chatting with friends online! If you need to get your work done while learning how to type, first write everything out on paper so then you only have to type it in later. Great that you are making lists as prioritizing what you need to get done will help you as well. I usually prioritize the most important things, but if I get stuck, I'll go take care of something else and come back to what I was stuck on with a fresh mind.
Keyboarding and not using paper is a reflection of how technology is changing the way we do business. It would be very beneficial for you to improve your typing skills. As someone posted earlier, make it fun by playing different games.
I hope this helps.
Another tip to get your typing speed & accuracy up - IM with your friends & family if possible! It gives you practice without it feeling like homework - try having IM conversations without looking down at the keyboard, and don't worry too much about typos. Over time you'll develop a better keyboard sense and it will become second nature. If you don't have a computer & keyboard at home to practice with, most public libraries have computers you can use for free - just remember to sign out of your account whenever you're finished using a public computer ;)
Everyone has said it really well here, practicing skills like typing will definitely help you in the long run. I’ve been typing for over 20 years and I can tell you that your work speed will greatly improve!! I do sometimes still take handwritten notes because I find it helps me absorb the material better, in some cases. So you’ll have great use for both skills later on.
I also minimize distractions in my environment and, depending on what my task is, I find a quiet place where I can really focus when I need to. If I find myself slowing down, it’s usually because something’s distracted me – thoughts of Hawaii or a different thought about something else I need to be doing. If outside thoughts are persistent, I take a quick time out, write down my thoughts, then quickly get back to my task. Keeping myself on track helps me get the immediate task completed.
Everyone has a different process, the key is finding what yours is and that will take experimenting. I hope that using a combination of all the great tips you’ve heard so far proves helpful!
Knowing what you want to do in advance also allows you to make sure you really understand what you need to do. There’s nothing worse than getting halfway through a project and realizing you’ve misunderstood the objective.
Typing is a flat-out necessity. It's just something that has to be a skill in your arsenal. You will get better the more you do it. If you would have asked me when I began typing that I'd be good at it, I would have never pictured that- but now I spend most of my work day typing something and it's second nature. Working on paper would drastically reduce your money-making potential in most cases and give you a lot fewer options in your career. The more efficient you are in your career, the more success will come, and there's just so much more efficiency potential that comes from hitting one key on a computer than writing a letter on a piece of paper. Bite the bullet and develop that skill. The you in 5 years will be so happy that the current you developed that skill!