Master Keyboard Shortcuts

Use this simple, yet largely untapped resource to save 37 minutes per day

While the research varies quite widely on how often people use their mouses at work, the 2 most reliable calculations we found are 428 clicks/day (calculated by a Cornell University researcher) and 1,480 clicks/day (average pulled from 5-year study of 50,000 computer users across 100 companies.

Are keyboard shortcuts faster to use than the mouse? Yes! The more surprising part is that this is true even when people start with one hand on the mouse.

How much faster are keyboard shortcuts than the mouse? 2 seconds faster is a safe assumption.

When we assume the number of clicks/day is the average of 428 and 1,480 and that 70% of clicks can be replaced with a shortcut (which is pretty conservative), we get to 22 minutes lost per day by not using shortcuts.

But don't most people use shortcuts, given how simple most are to use? No... most self-reported surveys show that people use shortcuts in about 10% of the opportunities they have to use them.

Why do most people skip this time-saving technique?

  • Many people still don't know many shortcuts (one study suggested that 90% of people didn't know CTRL+F creates a search box to enable you to find words on a screen)
  • Some people still think it's faster to use a mouse (in another study, 65% of people said clicking on the icon or using the toolbar was a faster way to open a document than using the shortcut)
  • Many people don't use shortcuts even when they know them & believe they're faster (people used a method other than the one they believed was fastest 31% of the time)

Ok, so even if you're convinced that you should start using more shortcuts, why take this course rather than just Google a few?

  • This course teaches you a repeatable process for learning and mastering new shortcuts
  • This course walks you through how to use what we call, 'shortcut gateways,' keys that enable to use many tens of shortcuts by knowing just 1-2 keys
  • This course includes one of the most comprehensive reference lists of shortcuts across operating systems (PC and Mac) and productivity suites (Microsoft Office and G Suite) all in one place
  • This course includes a collection of quizzes that enable you to do more than just read the shortcut once

Still not convinced? Take your time reading through the details of our time-savings calculations below in the research and analysis section.

"This course was useful! I learned new things and tactics for implementing that seem genuinely relevant to my life, and something I've wanted to do for a while!"

- Consultant, Bain & Company

"I know shortcuts exist, but the idea of finding the useful ones and incorporating them has always seemed time-consuming and overwhelming. It's nice to have it served up in bite-sized lessons."

- Senior Manager, Twitter

"I feel that many of the shortcuts I've learned have been through friends, so I appreciate being given the tools to find short-cuts on my own (and also the lists provided)."

- Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School of Government (Government Performance Lab)

Course Curriculum

  REFERENCE LISTS: Browser Shortcuts
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RESEARCH & ANALYSIS: 37 minute/day time-saving opportunity

Since it’s relevant to all the points below, we’ll start by saying that using a keyboard shortcut is on average 1.8 seconds faster than using your mouse.[1] This is likely conservative too because the operations used in this study were the most common, which would lend themselves to faster than average mouse accessing.

#1 – Using mouse to process and send emails rather than shortcuts =15 mins/day

  • We receive 120 emails/day on average[2], requiring, in most cases, 2 operations: selection of the email and archiving or deleting the email
  • Those 240 operations per day could save us 7.1 mins/day
  • We send an average of 40 emails per day,[2] requiring, in most cases, 6.4 operations: create message, move from ‘to’ field to ‘subject’ field, then move to body of email, navigate through spell check, send, and in 13% of cases, attach a file[3]
  • These 255 operations per day could save us 7.5 mins/day, resulting in total savings for using email shortcuts of 14.6 mins/day

#2 – Using mouse to switch between open applications rather than ALT+TAB/CMD+TAB = 5 mins/day

  • We change “context” (i.e., application, window) every 3.5 mins[4] or 161 times per day in an average 9.4-hour workday
  • Using ALT+TAB instead of the mouse to navigate between applications can save us 4.7 mins/day

#3 – Using mouse to navigate within the browser and perform common operations = 2 mins/day

  • We perform the common browser operations the following number of times per day: back (24/day), new tabs (10/day)[5], new window (7/day), type in URL (6/day), access bookmarks (3/day) for a total of 50 operations/day[6]
  • These 50 operations/day save us 1.5 mins/day

#4 – Using mouse instead of shortcuts to perform most other operations = 15 mins/day

  • The average worker performs 1,480 mouse clicks per day[7]
  • The above areas make up 706 mouse clicks, leaving 773 more clicks
  • While nearly every mouse click is technically replaceable with shortcut, we assume conservatively that people will only ever use shortcuts in place of their mouse in two-thirds of the cases
  • Replacing these 516 mouse clicks with shortcuts can save 15.2 mins/day


  1. Lane, D. M., Napier, A. H., Peres, C. S., and Sandor, A. “Hidden Costs of Graphical User Interfaces: Failure to Make the Transition from Menus and Icon Toolbars to Keyboard Shortcuts.” International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, Vol. 18(2), Pages 133-144 (2005).
  2. How many emails are sent every day? And other top email statistics your business needs to know,” Templafy (Sep 2017). Note: other sources suggest it is as high as 200 emails per day (Forbes: How To Stop Wasting 2.5 Hours On Email Every Day)
  3. Trewe, Marti. “Shocking stats about email data: are you safe?The American Genius (Dec 2013).
  4. Pattison, Kermit. “Worker, Interrupted: The Cost of Task Switching.” Fast Company (Jul 2008).
  5. Dubroy, Patrick. “How many tabs do people use? (Now with real data!).” (Apr 2009)
  6. Kellar, M., Watters, C., and Shepherd, M. “The Impact of Task on the Usage of Web Browser Navigation Mechanisms.” Graphics Interface (2006).
  7. An Analysis of Computer Use Across 95 Organisations in Europe, North America and Australasia.” Wellnomics White Paper (Aug 2007).

About Us


Our goal is putting time back in your life. We help individuals and companies save time by developing productive habits and adopting productive mindsets based on real research into where people lose time and how they can get it back.

Our online courses enable you to take ~5 minutes of your daily Facebook or Instagram scrolling time and get something for it. Here's how they work:

  • Micro-lessons: ~5 mins each, 1-2 hours over a month
  • Learning as a game: Learn by answering questions, no long reading
  • Habit-focused: Designed to help you change your behaviors

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and ends in 2 months! You're free to choose how you move through the course. Remember that information alone won't save you time. Aligning your behaviors with research-backed practices will and that takes focus, which is why we restrict access to 2 months.
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