You can save days, perhaps of weeks of wasted time on tools by investing a few hours of dedicated learning right off the start.
This week, I learned I needed to use new application called Axure RP. Shortly afterward, I looked up my account on Lynda.com to see if there was a course. There was, and I invested over 4 hours learning the essentials of how to use it.
I started an account with Lynda.com back in 2009 when I was trying to learn everything Adobe Photoshop could do. Since then, I’ve completed almost 200 courses.
Whenever I need to start using a new application, I now spend at least 4-8 hours getting essential training for how to use it, because I believe* it makes me 4 to 8 times more productive in using the application.
*I use the word “believe” because I don’t have any proven, scientific facts to back up this claim.
“Hey, I don’t have time or money!” I’ve sometimes told myself.
- I do have at least one dollar I can spare every day. Lynda and Platform University cost a little more than $360 annually which breaks down to $1 a day.
- I do have one hour I can spare every day per day, perhaps by skip watching some redundant murder mystery or playing stupid video games.
Reasons to dedicate learning time
Here are some benefits I’ve found over the years.
Learn quickly what an application does well
This week, I discovered Axure could be used to build nicely annotated documents for some of our existing websites.
Learn quickly what an application does poorly, or not at all
Sometimes, a brief overview of an application can save you hours of time by showing you what it’s not good for. For example, I’ve been a big Adobe fan, but sometimes they’ve “cheffed up” applications like Photoshop with ridiculous features like a tree creation tool.
- Good for photos.
- Meh for designing interfaces.*
- Good for document management and intranets.
- Bad for learning management (which I attempted and bombed at).*
*Dear Adobe and Microsoft, these are not criticisms of your software, just realizations that these are not the best tools for specific jobs.
Learn how to do things faster
Getting back to Axure, before spending 4+ hours of training, I already wasted a whole day poking around with the application, because I didn’t even know what it could do.
After the training, I got to work and began building prototypes in a way that I think will benefit my team better than before.
Call to Learning
I’m not trying to sell Lynda.com (although maybe I should). Here are some other places you can check out.