i3's docs are awesome. thorough, complete, and in ascending in complexity. i was eager to try.
i executed the following steps:
feeble nerd's guide
i3 on xfce
colemak keymapping variant
that was all! the formal i3 documentation is a must read for users as well. you can see my config here.
tuning xfce to integrate well with i3 wasn't difficult, but involves a non-trivial amount tweaks and complexity
now that i understand why tiling-wm fanboys are such admirers of tiling, i'm eager to adopt chunk on my work osx machine. i don't often recommend complicated system changes to people if they are comfortable with their workflow, but this was worth it, and i do recommend trying it. i look forward to greater productivity and organization by committing myself to this tooling.