It's All in Your Mind
"There's got to be a better way." If you hear yourself uttering that phrase under your breath as you work, it's a sign that you should stop and take a closer look at what's slowing you down in Photoshop.
If you're a complete beginner at Photoshop, before you start optimizing your workflow it's more important to first know what your workflow isto understand and master the tasks that form the core of your workflow. Once you've got that list down, you can start going down the list and identifying where you might be able to streamline your workflow using the keyboard shortcuts or modifier keys described in this chapter.
As you become more experienced, you might want to take a look at how you use your hands. Think about how often you switch between the keyboard and the mouse and consider adjusting which shortcuts you use based on that. For example, if you find yourself zooming in and out a lot and you have a mouse with a scroll wheel, think about using the scroll wheel to zoom so that you don't have to press shortcuts or change your current tool. On the other hand, if you mostly use a graphics tablet with a stylus and neither has a rotary control, you probably want to use the keyboard shortcuts for zooming. That's how you want to think in order to work out the right shortcuts for you. Achieving maximum efficiency in Photoshop has a lot to do with achieving the perfect mix of usage across the keyboard, your mouse or stylus, and your two hands.