Sure, the mouse is intuitive. See, point, click. No memorization required. But it also requires me to constantly move my hand back and forth between the mouse and keyboard. Whenever possible, I prefer to learn keyboard shortcuts to cut down on that movement.
Most software has keyboard shortcuts. Nearly everyone is familiar with the basics: ctrl+s to save, ctrl+c and ctrl+v to copy and paste, etc. But now, many great webapps are starting to incorporate keyboard shortcuts, as well.
Remember the Milk was the first webapp I encountered that really incorporated keyboard shortcuts, so I learned those pretty well. Soon, I was flying through my task list, adding dozens of tasks without touching the mouse at all. Gmail has had them forever, but most of the defaults are really unintuitive (for me, at least). *+a to select all, for example. What.
Fortunately, you can now customize your keyboard shortcuts in Gmail, too. I spent a few minutes last night customizing Gmail’s keyboard shortcuts to be more like the Remember the Milk keyboard shortcuts I am used to, and it was well worth it. Now, I am flying through my email without touching the mouse, as well.
If there is a program you use all the time, whether it is Word, Outlook, or Gmail, spend some time learning the keyboard shortcuts, and watch your productivity (or at least your capacity to be productive) skyrocket.
(photo: Wikimedia Commons)