Let’s Be Realistic
You’re not going to be able to completely do away with your mouse. So don’t be so hasty to throw it in the trash just yet, but there are two pieces of software that can dramatically reduce the amount of time that you spend switching your hand from the keyboard to the mouse and back: Browser Plugins and Window Managers
If you’re a professional that uses a computer for 8 or more hours a day, the way that you use your computer can have an impact on your health over the course of a career. Using the keyboard entirely isn’t necessarily the answer to preventing issues, but it can be better in some cases as opposed to using a mouse.
Optimization. If you’re a touch typer and you can do 90% or more of your work with your keyboard instead of having to take your hands off to start moving a mouse, you can speed up your workflow and get more done.
And the How
I would recommend starting out just learning at least a few of the keyboard shortcuts for your browser and your operating system first and see if it is even something that you like doing. If you find yourself using them, the next thing I’d recommend is installing a browser plugin that will allow you to interact with websites and your browser via the keyboard.
There are browser plugins for Chrome and Firefox that allow you to interact with webpages and your browser entirely through the keyboard. You can manage tabs, search and select text, copy it, paste it, click links, etc etc all very quickly and efficiently. It’s great and I find it to be pretty fun. There are some websites that simply don’t work with these plugins, but the majority of the internet becomes your keyboard playground once you install one. My favorite so far has been VimFX on Firefox. It’s one of the newer implementations and I think they nailed it pretty well. Some of the older ones have more features and ultimately it’s going to be up to personal preference. Checkout the list below for some recommendations:
Alternative Window Managers
Window managers are the softwares that dictate how you interact with your application’s windows. If you’re contstantly having to dig through a pile of windows with your mouse to find what you need, or you’ve got 30% of your screen that you realistically never even use, then you could benefit from changing your workflow to include a tiling window manager. Tiling window managers force you to use your screen real estate and reduce the friction in switching between applications through the use of keyboard shortcuts.
For someone who’s just getting into alternative windows managers on Linux, I’d recomend the Awesome Window Manager. It’s relatively easy to install and easy to get started with. I started out using Qtile but the installation and configuration were a little too cumbersome to be worth my time at first and that’s where Awesome came in and really got me hooked on alternative window managers.
If you’re like me, and you’re interested in learning Python, or you already know Python, Qtile is the way to go for sure. Once you learn a few things about Python, working with Qtile is a joy.
If you’re on Windows, apparently you’re not out in the cold either! I have yet to use any of these, but this reddit post looks like it has some great recommendations.