Becoming a Keyboard Ninja: The Sticky Note Method
The keyboard, where our hands are placed most of the time (as developers), is the fastest navigation method by default. I always think devs look so slick and badass when navigating their systems without touching their trackpad/mouse. They’re like little ninjas — slick, fast and know how to move with ease.
If you’re not convinced yet, let’s break it down:
- Performance optimization — you care about it on your projects. Why not care about it in your workflow?
- Switching between tabs and windows and a keyboard and mouse is clunky and error-prone and fumbly. Like runon sentances.
- You’ll look like you know what you’re doing. (Isn’t that reason enough? :P)
The Sticky Note Method
If you want to become a keyboard ninja, try putting a sticky note (or two) on the top of your trackpad. Why? because a few things:
- It will remind you not to use it, causing you to Google alternative navigation flows (you’ll learn a lot this way)
- You can still easily access the trackpad by simply lifting the sticky note from below or on the edge (where you’d be accessing it anyway)
Make sure to write down new shortcuts you learn on that sticky note — use a felt tip pen so you don’t need press too hard and accidentally click on something.
When you’ve covered your sticky with shortcut reminders, put it somewhere visible for a while (i.e. next to your track pad on your laptop or on your desk). Soon, you’ll have a great collection of shortcuts you find useful, and will quickly memorize them!
To use this method with a mouse — not a track pad — put the sticky underneath the mouse to disable the motion sensor. You’ll need a separate sticky to write new commands down on.
A few Things I’ve learned:
wcloses a tab (general rule)
ctrl + tabnavigates my tabs (general rule)
- Use the terminal to make and navigate files
⇧ shift + pin Sublime Text (and Atom Editor) and you can probably do anything you need from there
pin Sublime Text (and Atom Editor) and you can fuzzy search for any file in your project
- Fuzzy search is your friend
- Navigate the Sublime Text (and Atom) sidebar with
0to focus on the sidebar, and your arrow keys.
Enterwill open the file. (see plugin below for more fun)
Some Tools to Help!
- Download Alfred to help your workflow out a TON. Alfred is a great tool for navigating not only your applications but also acts as an awesome quick Google search tool. HIGHLY Recommend for future keyboard ninjas!
- There’s a great Sublime Text plugin that will help you focus on which file you have open. Type
fto open the sidebar right to the directory of the current file.
- Spectacle App allows you to move your windows around via keyboard shortcuts. What does that mean? No more clicking and dragging for a split screen! Thanks for the link, Ally.
*TIP: when first practicing moving files in terminal, have a text editor with a sidebar open (
⌘ cmd +
⌘ cmd +
b) so you can visually see the changes. This is also a great way to illustrate how git works. *
More Fun Resources
- Chrome Shortcuts
- Sublime Text Shortcuts
- Getting Started with Terminal
- Faster Sublime Text 3 Workflow
- How to Become an ST2 Power User w/@wesbos Slides
- Become an Alfred Expert
- General Table of Keyboard Shortcuts
- Keyboard Shortcuts for Bash
- Shortcut Foo (Gamified Training), Not Free
This is a growing list. Feel free to contribute your thoughts and ideas on improving workflow!