It’s no secret that I’m a fan of automation + time-saving techniques. (This post, this post + this post are evidence.) Which is why I also love using keyboard + WordPress shortcuts as much as humanly possible. Time is money, so saving time makes me a happy camper. Before I get too geeky about the topic, let’s start with a definition of each:
- Automation: an automatically performed task or function. i.e. something that you configure/program/setup + then don’t have to think about or touch again.
- Keyboard shortcuts: a keystroke or pattern that invokes a specific function within the software or web app you are using.
They are both time-saving tools that can benefit your business + personal life. Aside from cloning ourselves + never sleeping, this is another (more affordable) way to buy yourself more time in the day.
Almost every operating system, app + piece of software has shortcuts built into it. Some even allow you to customize those shortcuts or add your own. Except for the more complicated programs, the default keyboard shortcuts usually cover the essential functions you use regularly.
For example, if you have ever used ⌘ + c (sorry PC users, I’m a mac) to copy text, you’ve used a keyboard shortcut.
Why are keyboard + WordPress shortcuts so useful?
Whether you work on a laptop or desktop computer, for most of us the majority of our computer time is spent using the keyboard. When you are typing out emails, blog posts or taking notes on a conference call, you use the keyboard. Every time you have to take your hand off of those keys to maneuver the mouse/trackpad around, you are interrupting the flow of work you were doing, changing your body position + requiring extra seconds to get back in position when you are ready to type again.
If you use keyboard shortcuts regularly instead, you can keep your hands in place + then continue with what you were doing. It may only save seconds with each shortcut, but imagine how those seconds add up every day, week or year! A keyboard shortcut on something that you do 30 times a day could equal a couple minutes of obvious time saved. But that doesn’t include the time saved by not having to re-position yourself or not breaking your concentration or attention.
A huge exception to those that regularly use the keyboard is for designers who typically manipulate elements with a mouse/trackpad for the majority of their day. But the good news is that most programs have keyboard shortcuts built in for switching up tools, saving your work, etc. And unfortunately, most people can’t avoid having to read, reply + send emails. So our keyboards get put to use at some point during the day.
How do you go from ⌘ + c, to using them like a pro?
It took me a while to get into keyboard shortcuts, because I’m a creature of habit. Once I realized that I was constantly breaking my blog post writing concentration by using my trackpad instead, I started with the basics + added new ones slowly.
If you want to read all of the keyboard shortcuts available in WordPress, this page has you covered. If you’re looking to get started with a few common ones, these are what I’d recommend committing to memory.
The usual suspects
Like the ones you use in Word or Google doc, you can use ⌘ + ___ for many of the same things.
- c for copy
- v for paste
- z for undo
- b for bold
- i for italic
- u for underline
- k for link (this is one of my favorites)
If you’re using the Classic Editor, or an older version of WordPress, these WordPress shortcuts won’t matter to you. Once you get things up to date, you can try them out on your blog.
- ## + space will change a block to an H2 (heading 2) block
- ### + space will change a block to an H3 block
- > + space will give you a quote block
- 1 + space will give you a numbered list
- – + space will give you a bulleted list (the same is true on your iPhone notes app)
- / will give you the chance to add a block by name
- return or enter will create a new block (defaulting to text)
Outside of blog posts, the most writing I do is within GSuite (aka my inbox). Getting shortcuts committed to memory with email helped both my business + personal life. After turning on shortcuts in the settings menu, I studied the list of available ones from gmail + started playing around.
For me, labeling + archiving were huge time sucks because I would have to mouse up to the label area, scroll through my long list of options (multiple times if the email needed multiple labels) + finally archive it. But now, when I’m done sending a reply or reading an email, I simply hit my L key + start typing the labels that i want to apply. When that’s done, the E key archives it so I can move on to the next.
Shortcuts for the rest
Once I was comfortable with the two main programs I use daily, I started working my way through the rest. I tried to be mindful of tasks/patterns that happened multiple times a day in order to get the most bang for my buck. Committing a shortcut to memory that I use once a month isn’t nearly as helpful as one that I use once a day.
Another huge help in working keyboard + WordPress shortcuts into my daily routine was talking with folks that use similar programs or software. Learning what helps them work faster brought up some great ideas that I hadn’t considered before.