Founder Diary

December 13, 2022

I’ve touch-typed in two languages for over a decade. Here’s why it makes sense for you, too.

I’ve touch-typed in two languages for over a decade. Here’s why it makes sense for you, too.

Touch-typing isn’t just about speed.

Two hamster paws splitting into six to touch-type on a keyboard
Two hamster paws splitting into six to touch-type on a keyboard
Two hamster paws splitting into six to touch-type on a keyboard
Nikita Kazhin's headshot

Nikita Kazhin

Co-founder at Brick

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While there’s little “proven” in productivity (that’s why I barely ever use the word),  ten-finger typing might be as close as it gets.

Here’s how I view it.

Imagine a bond that pays 1000% annual interest, yet cannot default. One moderate investment, guaranteed lifetime payout. There’s no bond like this that pays dollars (or stock markets would turn to dust), but it definitely exists in productivity. And it pays out so much more than money.

Most people who’ve heard of touch-typing may have  brushed it off as a fad, or yet another distraction. Or they just don’t care about their speed.

The thing is they’re wrong.

Studies show that when two-finger typists see the keyboard (which, in real life, they always do), their speed can be comparable to ten-finger pros. But…

First, occasionally reaching similar speeds isn’t nearly the same as maintaining said speeds for as long as you like, and…

Second, this level of typing performance is arguably extremely taxing for “traditional” typists, consuming all their focus.

This changes everything.

“Going blind” isn’t about speed

So what does it really do?

🔹 In terms of the text itself, a touch typing course leads on average to a 4x reduction in typos and up to 40% in spelling errors. That’s neat, but the real magic happens when you stop looking at the keyboard…

🔹 …and finally get to looking at the screen. You instantly free your RAM and processor for higher-level thinking. So, not only do you spot typos more easily, you reread your own work way more often.

This results in an across-the-board spike in all imaginable text quality benchmarks, including logical organization, lexical diversity, comprehensiveness, and quality of cause and effect relations. When your narrative skills are freed from the shackles of typing, they reclaim most of your focus and can finally take off.

In other words, when you’re present for the task at hand (writing) and not the mechanics (typing), you’ll get better results.

🔹 “Hunt and peck” typing often brings neck discomfort and pain because looking down at the keyboard means staying in a non-neutral position for long periods of time (and remember, two-finger typing is still slower). Besides, neck strain quickly becomes a distraction in its own right, which shortens the time you can stay focused. The resulting fatigue is yet another way your writing quality suffers. This is one reason laptops aren’t a good option for typing marathons, or prolonged work in general for that matter.

In the end, traditional typing is a “tax” on your body, your focus, and on the quality of your work. It wastes your time and sets you up to underperform.

So how do you jump to the next level without making all the mistakes?

Touch-typing is “merely” a skill

I learned it in a clunky desktop program created by a sadist. It offered exercises of increasing length, and allowed only a few mistakes per exercise. Once I mistyped a single symbol, it produced a mind-numbing “oh-oh” sound and counted any additional keystrokes as errors. So when I picked up some speed and made a single mistake, I was frequently forced to start over.

My psyche hasn’t recovered to this day.

Thankfully, today’s courses are infinitely better. Two tips to find the right one:

🔹 Do yourself a favor and skip theory-only classes on popular e-learning platforms (e.g., Coursera, LinkedIn Learning, SkillShare, etc). Sure, they’ll tell you where your fingers go, why it matters, and how cool you’re going to be when you master the skill, but with no actual computer-tracked practice your typing won’t improve one bit.

🔹 Instead, jump straight to practice-only courses. Many of them are free or inexpensive. You’ll learn finger positioning and train your muscle memory through DOING, not reading or listening. It’s never boring, and the skill takes much less time to pick up than you might expect.

I tried a few of those and liked because of their accuracy-first approach with short explainer videos, “live” finger positioning animations and 99% practice. And if you still want a tad of sadism, just don’t disable the dictation feature and enjoy bleeding ears from their lovely electronic voice assistant.

Finally, here are three ways to maximize results:

  • Don’t spread it all thin across three months. Take a concentrated approach. If you don’t start applying the skill immediately, your old keyboard-staring habits will easily overpower your new learnings. So block time to make fast progress. You’ll thank yourself later.

  • Brace for the speed trough. Your typing speed will fall dramatically at first, even compared to the “two-finger” you. Go easy on yourself. Don’t plan ambitious typing adventures when you’re still learning, and don’t be ashamed to peek at the keyboard to nail down that hard-to-hit “Y” or “1.” Your output will jump soon.

  • Whatever happens, do NOT go back to two fingers. Remember, most benefits come from looking at the screen. It’ll be tempting to take the easy path and settle on a mix of hunt-and-pecking and blind typing. Resist it and quit cold turkey. You’ve got this.

    🎉 Bilingual Bonus! If you type in more than one language like I do, your second time around will be so much easier. Your fingers already know what to do, they just need to learn the new layout which isn’t as hard as it may sound. Sure, it might be confusing at first, but your two (or more) languages will actually start reinforcing each other’s typing in no time.


Touch-typing is a near-magical productivity skill everyone can benefit from, not just writers, coders or lawyers. Fewer typos, better focus and accuracy, improved narrative skills, and less neck pain — all in exchange for one fun online course that’s not even obscenely long.

Yes, I still type “synonyn” instead of “synonym” most of the time. But hey, when your accuracy rate is >98% and you type like a hamster runs in its wheel AND your result is superb writing, there’s little to complain about. Unlike many education investments, this one pays off quickly. You’ll reclaim those ten or so hours, and then some, in just a few months. Plus, as you get more proficient at this, make less mistakes and your speed picks up, your upside only will keep growing.

If this isn’t a bond that pays 1000% annually, never defaults, or expires, I don’t know what is.

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