Clock faceThis is Day 19 in the 31 Days to Become a More Efficient Virtual Assistant Series

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Most virtual assistants work with multiple documents everyday and one thing I swear by for increased efficiency is using keyboard shortcuts. I know a lot of people still feel using a mouse gets the job much faster. Some of my friends have mentioned to me that even though they feel shortcuts would speed up their work in the long run, learning the individual keystrokes would take too long. While there’s nothing wrong with using your mouse, I believe when combined with certain keyboard shortcuts you’ll dramatically increase your productivity. Many of the keyboard shortcuts work in nearly any program, so learn them once and use them everywhere.

I didn’t really realize just how many keyboard shortcuts I’ve learned over the years until I made the transition from Windows to Mac. I have been so frustrated the past few weeks, especially in Excel, re-learning everything and have quite a few I still have to “figure out” on this lovely Mac. (I’m not being sarcastic with my choice of “lovely”)

There are many effective keyboard shortcuts that, as a virtual assistant you’ll want to learn. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Practice daily: similar to any task you want to master, you need to practice and make it a habit. This is especially true when learning to use keyboard shortcuts. If you only rely on your mouse, you may want to remove it from your workspace when you are practicing. Believe me, the more you use shortcuts, the more comfortable and familiar they’ll become. A online tool you can use that can help you learn and practice at the same time is shortcutfoo.

  • Learn three shortcuts at a time: I have found by learning three keyboard shortcuts at a time has made it easier to learn faster and and make using keyboard shortcuts a regular part of my daily workflow.

  • Cheat sheets are your best friend: There are a lot of cheat sheets available for different platforms. One effective way to familiarize yourself with keyboard shortcuts is by having a cheat sheet readily available on your desk or bookmarked in your browser. After regular practice you won’t even need to look at it and it will just feel totally natural.  For starters, you can download and print out [download id=”0″]. (credit: Lifehacker)

Other resources you can check out: