The Value of Time in Your Career

Austin Interior Designer Amity Worrel Shares How the Value of Time Has Impacted Her Career Expertise (and Success) 

Texas Interior Designer - Amity Worrel

When you invest a dollar, it gains value through the years, compounding and growing. Before you know it, that dollar has turned into thousands. The same is true for our career expertise. Throughout our careers, interior designers like me build on tried and true principles — further refining our process, honing in on our niche, and ultimately delivering a wealth of knowledge and experience to our clients. Do we start out with this level of expertise? No, it takes time to grow — just like our financial investments, but it is a simple equation. Thankfully, this equation is much simpler than the math equation for compounding interest.)  

Practice + Time = Expertise 

Expertise = Big Impact for Your Clients


Amity Worrel With Client


Time is the biggest variable. A dollar invested today won’t look much different at the end of the week. Similarly, completing a mood board for the first semester of design school doesn’t make you an expert at interior installations. However, you’ll pick up a few tricks of the trade after spending a few years actively on the job site (and learning to manage whatever comes your way).  

So, let’s get into the value of time in your career. After all, the clock is ticking! 

The Value of Time in Your Career
There’s me on the right! I know so much more now than I did then. Each step in my career and all of the time in-between was necessary to get me to where I am now.

The Compound Interest on Time

I’ve been on my interior design career journey for almost 30 years now. I have learned a lot about design, working with different types of people, and navigating decision-making on a client’s behalf. The factor that has proved the most useful in my career is time. There is no masterclass, weekend conference, or life hack that replaces the hard work of honing a skill through years of practice. There is no substitute for time. 

Investing in your skills every day is like putting a daily dollar into your own personal stock market. Time is the most valuable aspect and factor in financial investments. If you put money away and continue to invest with interest, it grows and grows. One day, without even realizing it, you’ve acquired massive financial wealth. The same is true for investing in your area of expertise.

In one of my favorite podcasts, 2Bobs, David C. Baker says, “One of the things that drives success…is this insatiable curiosity to know more and more.” Hardly glamorous, the years of refining the art of problem-solving is what gives my expertise depth. When we’re passionate about something, we invest in knowledge to dig deeper and refine our skills in the craft. True wisdom is gained by taking on different challenges, from design to interpersonal.

Texas Interior Designer - Amity Worrel

Practice + Time = Expertise

Interior design school just barely scratches the surface of what it takes to make it in this field. Of course, learning basic design principles like room layouts and color theory is important. However, it doesn’t prepare you for the moments when the pattern on a fabric swatch looks completely different once you see it in full scale across the back of a sofa or when a contractor tells you the wall is load-bearing and can’t come down. 

This field is one of emotional and technical skills, both ever-changing from job to job. You’ll learn quickly just how attached people are to their homes and that client emotions run high. There is a lot of crying in this job — happy tears, sad tears, frustrated tears, and joyfully thankful tears. 

Just as quickly as emotions change, the field itself changes. Construction methods and materials are constantly improving, and there’s a lot to keep up with in the advances of lighting, mechanics, and sustainable design. It’s a balancing act to stay in tune with the practicalities while learning to navigate human nature and client management. 

If you run for help to a senior designer like I did on my first week in my first role at a firm, they might tell you that “it just takes time.” And they’re right. Investing in learning and doing (compounded by the interest of time) will yield a wealth of knowledge. 

Austin Interior Designer - The Value of Time In Your Career

Invest in Yourself to Deliver on the Client’s Investment 

What are folks looking for when hiring an interior designer? Simply, they’re looking for someone who can deliver on their investment. The only way to do so is by investing in your own knowledge and skills. If a client is looking for someone to guide them through a project, isn’t it better to take advantage of someone with expertise rather than a novice? 

Amity Worrel - interior designerAs I’ve progressed in my career, I’ve continued to narrow down my positioning in my field, diving deeper into the aspects that interest me and my client base and tossing the rest aside. I’ve yielded a bigger, more meaningful impact by not doing “everything for everyone” and instead doing thoughtful things for the right client fit. (Of course, it took time to get here.) 

A more profound knowledge of the craft provides freshness and the ability to try new things and develop new ideas rooted in years of successful outcomes. While the design and project management process feels old, it frees up time for me and my team to collaborate and bring new ideas. Our work looks and feels new, but it’s rooted in decades of practice. 

Don’t Underestimate the Value of Time in Your Career 

I became an interior designer over 30 years ago and started with just as much knowledge as anyone else. Now, my investment in time is really paying off. I am very grateful that I found my way to this field at a relatively young age because it has allowed me to invest in learning and figuring out where my place is. Time has created a wealth of knowledge, and it is important to me to share that knowledge with my team to grow them and ensure they get that value. 

So here is my last piece of advice for your career and your financial savings… 

Start now. Invest young. 

Amity Worrel

Amity Worrel is an award-winning interior designer based in Austin, Texas. She has worked on high-end interior design projects for celebrities and tastemakers in NYC, LA, and the Bahamas. In 2008, Amity decided to bring her passion for diverse design back to her hometown of Austin. Her spaces pull from timeless design concepts ranging from coastal contemporary to cozy cottage to Austin eclectic. Emotional connections, functional flow, and a touch of humor remain central to every interior design scheme. Her work has been published in national and local publications, including The Wall Street Journal, House Beautiful, HGTV Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens, and Austin Home. In her free time, she loves perusing estate sales and diving into design history. Learn more about Amity.



Austin Interior Designer