On October 23rd, I ditched typing the QWERTY layout for Dvorak. Cold tofurky.
If “Dvorak simplified keyboard” doesn’t ring a bell, you can read all about it on dvorak-keyboard.com. I’m not going to get into a history lesson here (at least not in this post) and I won’t go that deep into the reasons why I switched.
The short version is that I found sufficient evidence to suggest that switching to Dvorak would be a significant optimization to how I work. I dove into it and never looked back. The first few weeks were pretty brutal (and I found myself “typing” with speech-to-text more often than not when writing emails), but in the third week I started to feel pretty comfortable. I tried typing QWERTY on my wife’s Macbook that week and it was pretty disorienting. Good sign, right?
Well this post is more of a progress check in than anything else. When I first made the switch 40 days ago, my typing speed on QWERTY was 71 WPM. I took a typing class when I was a freshman in high school, but I never ended up being an outstanding touch typist. I know plenty of folks who would have much further to fall when switching keyboard layouts.
After typing Dvorak for a few days, my speed was somewhere around 15-20 WPM. Not very impressive, but I was typing actual sentences from Day 1, so that was pretty cool. I used Typing.com to learn and practice and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone looking to optimize their typing. Another helpful anti-cheat code was investing in a keyboard with blank key caps (no looking!).
By the way – if you work on the web and think typing skills are a waste of time, read “We Are Typists First, Programmers Second“. It’s a very relevant read, even if you’re not a programmer.
So after 40 days and 11 hours and 49 minutes of total typing time at Typing.com, I’m typing 53 WPM with 100% accuracy. I’d call achieving 75% of my previous typing speed within 6 weeks pretty good. Excited to see where I top out a few months from now.