Hi there readers,
Happy 2020 to all of you! Reigning it in from the end of a decade, I’m back. It has been some weeks, a month actually— with the break, my days off, and then of course the continued story of my colleague Thomas’ journey from a school of the arts to the town of Davidson.
Thomas left us with some thoughts on transitions, and how our life really is just a series of transitions and we try to make them as meaningful as possible. On that note, I’m also going to talk to you about transitions today, but not in such a profound sense. A more practical sense.
Let’s talk about your computer.
And your transitions within it.
I’ve always had a laptop all four years of college, and I am telling you that one brief meeting I had with Daniel Lynds (a mentor and my teammate) really did make me see how we overlook the simplest things sometimes that can make overall easier and much more joyful daily life practices for all of us. That one thing, you ask?
Learning keyboard shortcuts has— I kid you not— saved me probably like over 10+ hours in total by now, and counting. Just imagine over the years how much time that is devoted to doing something you actually want (i.e. not copying text over from one browser to another document but maybe, you know, actually reading the text deeply?!) You think it’s something small and simple—
“oh I’ll just click File > “New Tab” every time I need a new tab.”
“oh I’ll just select all the text by hand with my mouse, right click, copy.”
“oh, I’ll just close out one browser with the red X and then open another.”
until you have do it over and over again. every day. for the rest of your life.
Tenor GIF Copyright: The copyright of gifs currently falls under a gray area. Technically, I do need to attribute to the author for any work of media and/or get permissions unless the work is in the public domain (CC0 1.0 Universal License). An attempt to use this gif for my blog post sparked a conversation with my colleague and Digital Scholarship Librarian Tiffany Camp Johnson on how to use this media where the creator and the license of the work was unfindable. For this blog post, I am using in the good will of Fair Use but know that the copyright of it is unclear.
And that’s when you join the world of using hot key commands/ keyboard shortcuts on your computer, and you never look back because it completely changes the way you interact with your device and the speed in which you do it.
This was the experience for me. I wasn’t really attuned to any of the keyboard shortcuts except maybe Command + Z for undo. After a teaching session from Daniel about how movements on your computer over time really add up and to be a smarter user of my technology, I started learning some of the keyboard shortcuts my most common computer necessities— new window, close window, new tab, copy, paste, delete, tab between two applications in multiple browsers.
Everything became faster and so much easier. If I just had to open a new browser once in my day, then I guess it would be fine. By the nature of my work, I open and close so many tabs and browsers in a day and perform many computer tasks. (Honestly, we probably all do now). Click on a link for a meeting. Google Docs. Slack Message. Dropbox file. Different Tab. Private Browser. Email. Copy Text. Select All. Delete. And I am telling you— learning to use my hot keys well has really revolutionized my experience on the web and with my computer. It has overall made my experience much more pleasurable, and I can focus more diligently on the task I am working on as opposed to getting caught up in the technical aspects (really, frustrations, especially if it’s a repeated task) of how to achieve whatever it is I need to achieve at the moment on my laptop.
Compounded over time, it makes a HUGE difference.
p.s.~ If you try this out and it does/does not revolutionize your computer life— leave a comment. I’d love to know!