10 Reasons You Should Put the Mouse on the LEFT If You’re Right-Handed

Photo by Alberto Tolentino on Unsplash

1. Helps prevent RSI

This is the most important reason since it has to do with your health. If you’re right-handed, you probably do everything with your right hand.

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is a potentially serious condition that can be caused by performing repetitive movements. Even if you think that you will never develop RSI, it is always a good idea to take preventative measures, especially if you use your computer a lot. In addition to taking regular breaks and maintaining good posture, using the mouse with your non-dominant hand is definitely worth trying.

2. Improves your non-dominant hand

You have two hands, but you probably do not exploit this to the maximum because the dexterity of one of your hands is poor. This is more likely if you are right-handed since many left-handed people learn to use their right hand quite well. For instance, many left-handed people play games such as first-person shooters while using the mouse with their right hand.

Improving the dexterity of your non-dominant hand may prove to be beneficial, especially if you play sports that may involve using both of your hands. Apart from using your non-dominant hand for the mouse, I also recommend using it for everyday tasks such as brushing your teeth. It may seem difficult at first, but you will eventually master it.

3. Your right hand is more likely to get injured

If you are right-handed, you are more likely to injure your right hand in an accident than your left hand. I once injured my right hand and couldn’t use it at all during a stressful time when I had many deadlines approaching. Fortunately, the injury did not cripple my productivity as much as it could have since I was comfortable with using my left non-dominant hand for my mouse, trackpad and phone.

4. It forces you to use the keyboard more

Having the mouse on the left is a constant reminder that you shouldn’t be using it much anyway (unless you have to, e.g., for gaming, image or video editing, 3D modeling). For most people, and most computer work, work efficiency could be greatly improved by keeping mouse usage at a minimum.

Learning keyboard shortcuts is an investment that will enable you to work much faster than using the mouse to navigate a program. If you are new to keyboard shortcuts, I recommend starting with this video (for Windows).

5. Your right hand is free to do stuff with the keyboard

Using the mouse with your left hand may further increase productivity by freeing your right hand to do stuff with the keyboard simultaneously. For instance, highlighting and deleting text is a common task. However, the Backspace and Delete buttons are on the right of the keyboard. Some people try to solve this problem by overriding the ` button on their keyboard to be a backspace. However, I actually use the ` button (for programming, LaTeX). It also has uses outside the English language. The real solution is switching the position of the mouse.

Moreover, placing your mouse on the left allows you to use the numpad while you mouse, and the numpad is important in many jobs. On the other hand (no pun intended), copy, paste and switch window shortcuts are done with the left hand, so it depends on the nature of your job.

6. Frees up space on the right side of your desk for writing

This was a big one for me when I was a student. While I could train my left hand to use the mouse, I need to write with my right hand. With the mouse on the left side of my desk and my notebook on the right, I could write comfortably as I used my computer to work on my assignments.

7. Better multitasking

Mousing with your left hand means that you can now use your right hand for eating, drinking, speaking on the phone, or anything else right-handed people like to do with their right hand…

8. Dissuades people from using your PC

I don’t like people messing around on my machine and the unconventional mouse position and inverted mouse buttons are a sufficient deterrent for many to even bother. If somebody wants to show me something, they always end up clicking the wrong mouse button which is a great opportunity to regain control of my mouse and ask them to just tell me what they want to do.

9. It makes you a more interesting person

People who notice that I’m right-handed but keep my mouse on the left often ask me why. It never fails to arouse the curiosity of people who have never seen it before, and it has led to interesting conversations with individuals that I wouldn’t have spoken much with otherwise.

10. Science

There is research to support this. In a study, researchers asked volunteers to place their mouse on the left side for a month. Not only were the subjects able to adjust easily and handle computing tasks using smaller movements, it also improved their posture during work because they didn’t have to stretch as far to reach for the mouse (they used desktop computers with keyboards that are longer on the right side because of the numpad). Out of the 27 volunteers, 16 decided to maintain the left-handed placement of the mouse after the experiment ended.