These days, everything’s about “hacking.”

Parents want to know how they can hack parenting, exercise buffs want to learn better fitness hacks, and pretty much everyone’s curious about life hacking. But there’s one life hack that many people overlook, and that’s keyboard shortcuts.

Keyboard shortcuts are one of the quickest ways to increase your PC productivity. Being able to simply click a button or two and get the results you need reduces your dependence on your mouse, which increases the amount of time you have to do what’s most important.

Doubtful this actually makes a difference? Then read on to see some pretty insane stats about why you should use keyboard shortcuts for productivity.

 

Why Keyboard Shortcuts Are So Important

Here’s the deal: the majority of Americans who use the Internet don’t know how to search for a word on a web page.

The Atlantic reported a few years ago that 90% of U.S. internet users don’t know the Ctrl/Command + F shortcut, which brings up a search bar that helps you find a particular word on that page.

(If you didn’t know this, now you do, and you’re in the top 10% of enlightened keyboard shortcut internet folk.)

While these stats may have changed over the years, assume they’re still true for the sake of this discussion. Because now you have to pair that stat with another crazy one.

When you learn keyboard shortcuts, you reduce your dependence on your mouse which actually gives you more time back than you might realize. An infographic by American Express Open Forum states that “an average person loses 2 seconds per minute of work” just by switching back and forth between the mouse to the keyboard.

Overall, they say that this saves you 8 days a year. Doesn’t seem like much, but think about it — what would you do with basically an extra week’s worth of free time?

By learning keyboard shortcuts, you’d not only be in the top 10% of people who know how to search for a word on a webpage, but you’d also be working your way towards giving yourself a few extra days each year.

 

How to Get Started With Keyboard Shortcuts

Now that you can see the value that learning keyboard shortcuts can bring to your life, where do you start?

First, you need to make sure that whatever you teach yourself is for the right computer and operating system (OS). While this post is mainly addressing PC shortcuts, note that many are different on Macs if you use one. Also, shortcuts can vary between OS’s, too, so you need to know which one you’re using.

Next, start by learning the basic keyboard shortcuts that come built-in to the system. The link to the American Express infographic can help you get started there, but here are few more:

http://mashable.com/2011/07/06/keyboard-shortcuts-windows/
http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/02/keyboard-shortcuts-infographic.html
– http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2007/07/20/developers-alarm-200-hotkeys-to-boost-your-productivity/

Finally, once you’re comfortable with these, you can start looking into programs that let you create your own shortcuts and mess with key mapping. Customization FTW!
Keyboard shortcuts are one of the best life hacks you will invest time in. Learning them now will reap you productivity benefits that you’ll be sad you hadn’t experienced before!

Do you think you’ll start using keyboard shortcuts now? Tell us why (or why not) in the comments below.