2 min read


Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm / Unsplash

Hey friends!

Today I want to tell you about something I tried out a couple months ago and found was quite a lot of fun; Stenography, or 'Steno' as it's sometime known.

Common Uses

Steno, which is an alternate way of 'typing', is most often used in a court setting to transcribe what is being said, or on live television for closed captioning (subtitles).

How it works

Stenography works very differently to normal typing.
Instead of hitting individual keys to type out words, you use 'chords' to sound out the words you are trying to write. In other words, you hold down the keys which represent the sounds you are writing, then release them all at once to produce the word. For example, to write 'cat' you would hold down the 'k' key (because there is no C on a steno layout, and you need the 'ck' sound), followed by the 'a' and 't' keys, then simultaneously release them all to write out 'cat'.
As you might imagine, your words per minute can be a lot faster (upwards of 300 🤯), hence it's use for fast-paced transcriptions which keep up with human speech.

My experiment

I tried out Steno for a couple of weeks in late 2021, just for fun. At the start it was quite frustrating, because it is so different to normal typing. But once I figured it out (while I could still only spell out about 70 words), I was able to write a lot faster and found it very rewarding. You could also try it out as a fun challenge 🙂

How you can learn it too

If you do want to give it a go, here's a couple of websites to get you started and give you a bit more info.

Thanks for reading!

Some of my favourite things

Planning exercise

Weekly review
Helps you reflect on your past week, as well as set some short-term goals for the next week. Really helpful for me.
You can check out my template (all credit goes to John Mavrick) if you want to use it for planning the next week. 😉

Study with me/focus music

After using the 25/5 pomodoro timer (newsletter about this kind of focus technique coming in April!), I discovered it didn't work so well for me. So I have started using this one instead, which has a 45/15 pomodoro, meaning 45 minutes of work, 15 minute break, repeat. I have found it works a lot better for me.

Quote of the week

"The impact created by a change in your habits is similar to the effect of shifting the route of an airplane by just a few degrees. Imagine you are flying from Los Angles to New York City. If a pilot leaving from LA adjusts the course by just 3.5% south, you will land in Washington DC instead of New York." James Clear - Atomic Habits

Have a great week!
Cheers, Toby