My Plan for Switching to the Colemak Keyboard

I heard about the Colemak keyboard today from Matt Mullenweg, cofounder of WordPress, via the Tim Ferriss podcast, episode 61. Matt said it was the most efficient keyboard layout, and despite some slightly unconvincing research for speed from efficiency, I have decided to give it a try for reduced long-term ergonomic stress, switching from the QWERTY (that was awkward to type) keyboard. That is, I’m not switching for faster typing speed ultimately. It’s plenty good at about 68 words per minute (wpm). Rather, I’m switching for the decreased reaching I’d have to do with my fingers and hands over the years, at supposedly, about 8-9X less the distance traveled! Additionally, I want to see how it would work out for me rather than just a study since I don’t have an average brain, and also test my middle-aged brain’s ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn.

Working at a desk job, I could not just go at this cold turkey, though, so I devised a plan:

  • Convert to Colemak on phone and tablet immediately since they are short messages, are tapped out slowly, with visible keyboard I don’t have to memorize, with autofill help for when time and/or patience is short, so small loss of speed and time while learning the new keyboard;
  • Use the Colemak at home where I can be slow and don’t use the keyboard all that much anyway;
  • Take some online typing lessons;
  • Test my patience and determination; and
  • Use at all times on my devices, while keeping QWERTY fluency the general world via work where they wouldn’t likely let me install the Colemak reconfiguration anyway.

I’m far from proficiency with the Colemak keyboard, clocking in at 12 wpm. However, I painstakingly made this 357 words (filled in at the end) post using that keyboard layout over about half an hour for symbolic purposes, and to see if I could feel the improvement from beginning to end. Definitely, yes, and I am super excited about the potential this holds for me!

Wish me luck! I’ll post an update by Christmas at latest.

If anyone reading this has tried the Colemak keyboard, please do share your experience. Thank you.


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