My co-workers think I’m left-handed

July 30, 2007

As I was explaining the virtues of left-handed mousing to one of our web designers, he replied, “Yeah, but I’m not left-handed”.

Well, neither am I. So why do I use the mouse with my left hand? 3 reasons, really:

  1. Ergonomics – Switching to my off-hand for possible RSI-inducing tasks helps reduce their impact. My right hand and wrist don’t bear the full brunt of 10-hour days of software development.
  2. Balance – Call me a nerd (because I am), but I like the idea of being equally adept at doing things with either hand. Sometimes I brush my teeth left-handed, use a fork left-handed, and shave the cats left-handed, too. Ok, made that last one up.
  3. Economy of motion – This one was a by-product. One of the first things I noticed when I started mousing left-handed is how much more efficient it is. Here’s why: think about the distance your right arm travels as you move from the mouse to your home keys (jkl;) and back again. Unless you’re doing ten-key often (and I hope you’re not – sorry, data entry folks), that’s wasted effort. Depending on the size and configuration of your keyboard, that’s an extra 4-6 inches of motion every time you switch. If that doesn’t sound like much, think about how many times you do that during the day. If you’re like me, it’s in the hundreds. But, with resources like Smashing Magazine’s 200+ Hotkeys To Boost Your Productivity, I’m getting better all the time.

Sure, it’s hard at first. You’ll notice certain shortcuts aren’t quite as accessible as they used to be and you won’t have as much coordination as you did. That’s ok – you’ll adapt and the coordination will come. And when it does, you’ll be impressed that you got used to it as quickly as you did.

I know I was.


5 Responses to “My co-workers think I’m left-handed”

  1. DWEH Says:

    Being a developer myself, it seems that using the mouse with your left hand would reduce the speed of Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V. This is the fundamental step of an innovative programming paradigm, “Static Inheritance” [The Freve]. Without this functionality being readily available, I really think that LOC would degrade significantly.

    My 2 cents

  2. […] friend, and co-worker, of mine wrote about how people think he’s left handed because he uses his mouse “left handed.” However, he is not left handed but rather uses […]

  3. n-known Says:

    DWEH Says:
    (…)Being a developer myself, it seems that using the mouse with your left hand would reduce the speed of Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V. This is the fundamental step of an innovative programming paradigm(…)

    Fully agree, that’s why I am using [CTRL]+[INSERT]/[SHIFT]+[INSERT] combo to copy paste. It works like charm, unless you develop something using Apple-oriented crap written by one-handed folks.

    • michael Says:

      I use the mouse with my left hand. When I needed to used Ctrl+C Ctrl+V , I just extend my left thumb to the Left Ctrl Key and use my right hand for the C or V.
      My left hand hardly leave the mouse.

    • michael Says:

      I work in the I.T industry as a network Engineer. Over the past 15 years I have notice a lot of my co-workers are left handed like me. I have right handed co-workers too. However the number of left handed people (most male) working in the I.T industry seems to be higher than the global average of 10% . Has anyone else notice this ?

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