The Value of Time

May 11, 2010

I often get e-mails and calls asking me how to do a certain procedure in CorelDRAW. Typically the question is asking me how to do something manually just like they do in “Product X”. Basically there is a product (or multiple products) that automate a particular task and the user doesn’t want to have to purchase that product.

The most recent call got me to thinking more about it. Sure, the task could be done manually in CorelDRAW. If the user only needed to do it once or twice, it wasn’t particularly difficult. Yet each job would be very time consuming. For the sake of discussion, let’s say that for each job it would take about an hour to do it manually. In many cases, the artwork would only be usable for a single project. There are products to automate the procedure so it could be done in five minutes or less. Prices of those products vary so I won’t list any price in particular.

So I ask you, what is the value of your time? I’m not asking about the people who have asked these questions of me. I’m asking about you specifically. Each of us places a value on our time and I’m not even going to guess at how you value your time. In the scenario I’ve described, the automated solution saves 55 minutes for each job. Now, multiply the value of your time by 55 minutes. How much money does that automated solution save by saving your time?

If a product costs $50, how many projects do you need to do where you save 55 minutes to pay for it? What if the product is $500? Since each of us place a value on our time that is different, the value of a product can also vary. Yet I think you will find that if you truly look at the time saved, the price can easily end up being a bargain.

While my discussion is focused on products that automate a process, the same parameters can be applied to training. Some users prefer to learn CorelDRAW on their own because it is “free”. If it takes you four hours to learn a technique, you need to factor in the cost of your time. If you then had formal training and you learned four techniques in that same hour, you’ve made more of your time. I bring this up as I talk to CorelDRAW users quite often who don’t want to pay for training, yet they waste an enormous amount of their time trying to learn on their own. Obviously I hope those users will consider my CorelDRAW Unleashed books or will consider attending our CorelDRAW Unleashed Training Boot Camp as I feel they will get a tremendous amount of value for the investment they make in the training. Those you make the investment in the training, will save hours of their time in the long run and the investment in the training will pay off many times over. I ask each of you to look at decisions like this as a long-term business decision and not just a way to save a few dollars today. While you might save a few dollars in the short run, the time you lose is worth much more in the long run.

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Foster D. Coburn III

Foster D. Coburn III is author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences. His first Web site was built in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013.

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