30 Days of Writing, Day 3: Always try to do things faster.

Always ask yourself: is there an easier, faster, and better way of doing things?

If there is, then follow up by asking, would the time spent learning that way save time in the long-term?

I first came into contact with the text editor I use for writing my programs (Vim) 4 years ago, and while it was a nightmare to learn I knew that if I just buckled down and forced myself to learn it for the next 20-100 hours, it would pay off at some point.

This meant rewiring an entire lifetime of how a person would use a text editor: for instance, it’s discouraged to scroll with the arrow keys. You scroll up, down, left, and right with the k, j, h, and l keys.

Once my brain got rewired and this new editor became part of my muscle memory, my productivity skyrocketed: I can quickly move and edit files faster than before, and I can do it without moving my right hand from the keyboard over to my mouse.

If that action took 1 second to complete and I do that 500 times a day, then not having to move my hand would save me roughly eight and a half minutes per day. Spread over 300 days a year (I also use Vim to write and edit blog posts such as this) and that leads to roughly 40 hours (an whole work week per year!).

That doesn’t count all the other shortcuts I’ve added to OS X, Kindle, Chrome, and every single program that I use consistently. Always try to figure out who you can do things easier, faster, and better.