By josh / May 19, 2014

Will you make this productivity-killing mistake today?

One common lament I hear from readers is, “I love Sublime–I just wish I could remember all those keyboard shortcuts!”

Maybe you feel that way sometimes. You’ll be cruising along, coding “in the zone,” and you might use Goto Symbol to jump to another section of your file to make a quick change. Now you want to go back to where you were editing previously.

You hesitate. Sublime has a Jump Back command, right? But what was the shortcut for that again?

A quick trip to Google, and you “remember”: Oh, yeah, it’s Alt+-.

Cool. You close the tab, jump back to Sublime, and hit the shortcut.

It works. Happy dance.

You dive back into your code …

Stop. You might think you learned a productivity-boosting shortcut, but it’s more likely that the next time you need that shortcut, you’ll come up empty, just like you did this time.

You missed an opportunity to burn that shortcut into your brain and ensure that it’ll be there next time you need it.

Sublime has hundreds of great shortcuts, but many programmers only know and use a handful.

Sure, they may know of many of these shortcuts, but when the opportunity arises to use that shortcut, they can’t remember it and either look it up again or just go with the slower, less efficient manual option.

Next time you happen across a new shortcut that seems like it’s worth learning, don’t just try it once and then get back to work.

Take an extra two or three minutes to practice using it. Repeat the shortcut 10 or 20 times. Try to come up with a couple of different scenarios where it would be useful, and practice those.

If you really want to remember it, make yourself a little reminder somewhere where you’ll see it later so you can repeat your practice over time.

This takes a little extra time, sure. But mastering a few keyboard shortcuts a week will save you significant time in the weeks and months ahead.

P.S. To learn more about how to improve your Sublime Text workflow, check out the free Sublime Text Tips newsletter:

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