It is a shame but I couldn’t touch type until recently.
One day in July 2013 my boss was passing by my desk. It was not the first time he was passing by me or noticed me typing with two fingers. But that day he stopped by my desk and encouraged me to learn touch typing so I could type at the speed of my thought. He told a little story about how he learned touch typing when he was in high school. A little later that afternoon, he returned to his desk, which is at the far end of mine, skyped me to turn to him and smilingly skyped something which I can’t remember. In that chat he also shared the website he used to learn to touch type: http://www.typeonline.co.uk/index.html
Later that evening, I checked this website at home. This is not the fanciest website to learn touch typing but I liked its simplicity. I clicked around on the links to see how the lessons are structured. On one of the pages, I noticed a message that struck chord with me:
Typing is learned by practice.
Expert typists are not born with an innate affinity for keyboards. They have not taken a magic typing pill. Nor do they rely on enchanted keyboards for their skill. They practice.
So this sounded like a perfect opportunity to put the deliberate practice theory to practice.
751 days of practicing as little as 20 minutes a day, I can now touch type. I am yet to practice numbers row but I mastered the other three rows. However, it wasn’t easy in the beginning. I struggled a lot while starting to learn. But I accepted that as a part of learning and put up patiently with each lesson. Every new lesson and new row was a struggle. Many a time, I used to practice the previous lesson or row just to get going and not give in. Eventually I mastered all the three rows and then moved on to copy practice lessons.
Another thing that got me going was the feeling of mastering the keyboard. Deep inside me I felt very happy to be able to type without looking at the keyboard. One day I turned to my boss, pinged him in skype to look at me, and while smiling at him, I skyped and thanked him for nudging me to learn to touch type. He was impressed that I took his feedback positively and worked on it deliberately.
I continued to practice even after I learned fully because I only needed fifteen minutes a day. I never missed a day of practice in the last 180 days. Now typing has become my new normal that I see no point in tracking this habit. So today is the last fifteen minutes of practice. I archived the habit in Lift and am not going to waste any more time tracking this habit. I anyway type a lot as part of my job and hobbies.
For the records, here are the Lift stats:
My boss was not the first person to encourage me to learn touch typing. During the first year of college in the year 2000, one of my computer science professors encouraged our class to learn typing. I took his message and in the ensuing semester holidays, went to nearby town to learn typing on a mechanical type writer. I learned for about two weeks and eventually gave up and settled with two finger typing.
Fifteen years later, I am glad I finally learned it.