Dealing with typing-related RSI

The bane of the tech industry, and I suffer from it. As it happens, RSI is one of the reasons I really shouldn't attempt to earn a living as a Software Engineer. As I re-learned this week. Those reaches for strange punctuation really start wearing me down. It didn't help that there was some work-related hammer-drilling Tuesday (vibrating power-tools, funtimes).

The combo that was really getting me was this one:  "]}'")

All right hand, all far reaches and shift-key work. As I was refactoring code I was running into that combo a lot. And... ow. Just, ow. I left work early yesterday because I was simply done typing for the day. And for people who do what we do, that's really kinda bad.

I've learned through other venues that I have about 2 hours of constant typing in me before I have to give it a multi-hour break. Intermittent typing, such as firing command lines off while troubleshooting, allows me to go much longer. But constant typing really wears, and this is after I've addressed most of the ergonomic issues.

Today I'm leaving code alone since I still need to recover. There are some non-typing office related things I need to do, and allow me a light-duty day.


I use to deal with RSI.

Switch to Dvorak Keyboard layout. It's reportedly less strain. It'll take less than a month for you to adjust - well that's how long it took me. It's a serious mind-bender in the beginning, you feel like your head is gonna explode, but if you persevere you'll get there before you know it. I now touch-type qwerty and keyboard-glance dvorak, swapping between both layouts right next to each other every day.

As someone with a similar situation I found my Kinesis keyboard and Evoluent mouse indispensable. It will take some time to get used to the keyboard, but is definitely worth it.