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September 9, 2022

Key-ping it short: Tips on keyboard shortcuts

Are humans sprinters or marathoners when it comes to expending brain power?  

We have a finite amount of time in which we can devote our energy to focusing on a particular task. 

Some people thrive working on a single activity. Legendary jazz musician Charlie Parker spent hours alone woodshedding (privately practicing and rehearsing until your technique is flawless) . For other people such a sustained deep-focus on a singular task is torturous, so they spend their days avoiding that particular task. Legends like myself have often undertaken this practice, known as procrastinating. 

I know that I work best focusing on a singular task in short bursts. So I typically take a Pomodoro Technique approach. However, lurking distractions can draw me away, from the task I’m trying to complete: email notifications, MS Teams pop-ups, or browser prompts with the latest sports drama. 

Distractions through actions is also something I find that can lead me off-track from my central task. I might be writing down thoughts to do with a project, paying attention to what a colleague is saying or building a digital resource. Then I need to perform a minor function like unmute to respond to a question, share my screen or copy paste code. Jumping around with my mouse to do this small thing – I get distracted and forget the larger task in doing the small action.

A colourful computer keyboard with computer shortcuts labelled under keyboard letters and buttons

Photo by Girl with red hat on Unsplash

Keyboard shortcuts for the win!

Keyboard shortcuts can reduce distractions, whether working alone or in a collaborative group situation. By staying in the flow and working through a task with minimal distraction, keyboard shortcuts keep you focused on your primary task.

Keyboard shortcuts decrease your daily workload. You work more effectively and efficiently. Meaning your time-saved could be spent in more rewarding activities. Whether that’s for more creative work tasks or embedded reflective thinking. Or better yet, some wellbeing time-out enjoying a coffee, going for a walk, cooking or being creative. 

Be warned that keyboard mastery can be too much power for some. There are those who have severed their ties with the mouse altogether! For staff from Level Up and VICE, removing the mouse majorly changed their work practices for the better.  

Common keyboard shortcuts

A table below provides some commonly used keyboard shortcuts for Chrome and FireFox :

Function Windows Apple
Open a new tab Ctrl + T Cmd + T
Open last closed tab Ctrl + Shift + T Cmd + Shift + T
Closed a tab Ctrl + W Cmd + W
Close all tabs Ctrl + Shift + W Cmd + Shift + W
Open hyperlink in new tab Ctrl + Click on link Cmd + Click on link
Open hyperlink in new window   Cmd + Shift + Click on link
Zoom in Ctrl + Plus sign Cmd + Plus sign
Zoom out Ctrl + Minus sign Cmd + Minus sign
Reset zoom to 100% Ctrl + 0 Cmd + 0
Clear cache Ctrl + Shift + Delete Cmd + Shift + Delete
Find Ctrl + F Cmd + F
Go to another Application Alt + Tab Cmd + Tab

Take the keyboard challenge

Hopefully this blog has provided helpful keyboard shortcuts you can apply in your digital practices. In fact, I challenge you to use a couple of these keyboard shortcuts when working over the next month.

Or if you’re feeling truly adventurous, try using keyboard shortcuts instead of a mouse or trackpad for a whole day, or a week, or a month! And comment below with your experience of the challenge! 

Post authored by Emeka Anele.

Posted byEmeka Anele

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