The value of time.

My office-mate talked a lot. One of the thing he mentioned to me is about a story of a businessman who couldn’t afford to have a bus ride.

This particular businessman would like to travel from Utrecht to Nantes. He can go there by using 2 types of transportation. One is the bus and another one is the aeroplane.  Although the bus fare is cheap, the businessman couldn’t afford it. Instead, he took the plane to Nantes, France.

Why was the businessman couldn’t afford the bus?

If you think about it, you might be wondering if the businessman took Ryanair or some cheap flight. Well, this is not the case. This is the normal fare ticket, which is higher than the bus fare.

In economic, time has its value. To travel from Utrecht to Nantes by bus can take up to 9 hours while by plane it can take around 45 minutes. In this case, the businessman was simply couldn’t afford the time of travelling to Nantes by bus, because he valued his time more.

Another example in real situation is a farmer trying to calculate the cost of rearing the young stock in his farm. In The Netherlands, the dairy farm is run by one person; the farmer himself. Since the farmer didn’t value his time doing the job in his farm, he might value his time (work) as none or very low. This is what we call an opportunity cost.  So, imagine if he was asked about the costs of rearing his young stock from day 1 until 26 months old. He would simply didn’t calculate his time. This makes the total cost lower than what it should be.

A similar situation for me: A housewife, mother, wife but also a PhD student/ working mum. I valued my time working on my PhD/ work. So I choose to pay more for groceries (chopped veggies, cleaned chicken) and went to just 1 shop (which can be an expensive shop but with all the things I need) to save the time in preparing and cooking for my family.  So, if you think that a housewife who wander around from shops to shops in order to have better bargain saves more, think again.

You might be surprised.


References when writing a paper

When writing, we are always consumed with what we want to write.  Additionally, we have to do a lot of online searching for references.  References are needed in writings to let other reader know that we had done our homework and based our research on what other people had done in the past  as well as let us know what people didn’t do that create a gap which we are going to fill.
If you are a person who need a lot of references such for example when building a model like me, then you need to have a good library where you can keep all you reference lists for future use.  As you started your research, your references are consist of books and basic knowledge.  Later, you need to find online journals to support your research.
Using a database in your university virtual library help a lot, under the condition that you know how to use it wisely.  For example, by using ISI web of knowledge, you can access online journal and at the same time look for how many citations the paper had.  It is also a great tool to know the references from the journal and who had cited it.  Thus you can reduce the amount of time looking for papers in the area you are interested.
When looking for papers, you will need to look it by subtopics under the main objectives of your research.  To prevent yourself from loosing it in the future in case your pc get infected with viruses and need to reformat, you can either keep a hard copy and filed it based on subtopics or you can keep the journal in your online drive account.  For example, windows live gives you 25GB free online space to keep your work.  Once you are registered, you can save all your work, write blogs about your work and keep everything private for yourself.  This way, you can make sure that if something happened to your pc, your work is still available.   This can saves you a lot of time!
Once you are ready to write, you need to make sure what you want to write.  A research paper always have one particular pattern which I think is great for beginners to know.  This is the flow for introduction based from my research;
I need to have a title; a good one
1) I have to state “WHAT IS THE PROBLEM”
This is the longest and most important of all in the introduction.  The problem of dairy rearing in The Netherlands are
  • For replecement of cows, heifers must be available.
  • So good calf rearing is important, however a lot of diseases and mortality occur
  • But we have to manage calves to reach first-calving age at predetermined time
  • Knowing cost of calf rearing is important as a starting point


  • Other studies on cost of calf rearing; which do not exist yet
  • other studies that was done but do not estimate cost

3) “THE GAP”

  • Cost for calf rearing is not known
  • Other studies do not include variation

4) Turn attention to your work ; which is to fill “THE GAP”

  • In our study, we will include the variation in a calf life

5) I will go to some details of my work

  • This includes the objective.

After you know the flow of writing, its time to find the references and add them in the introduction as you write.  It is useful to use a software such as end notes to cite the references.  First, install end notes in your pc.  Then, you open the software and add library to it.  Basically you can add the library references with your online journal from ISI web of knowlege or by using google scholar.  By using those 2 search engine, you can add the journal in your library and these will be sorted in an alphabetical order.  Once you’ve decided to add a reference, just click in add cite in end note toolbar in word and find the authors name.  After you had chose the reference, automatically the author name will appear in that sentence as well as the full information of that paper below.

You will save a tremendous amount of time by using these tools when you started to write.  Of course, reading the journals needs a lot of time but it does not necesarrily mean that writing your thought is a hassle too!


I have a dream of writing a book (few books).  I wanted to write myself a guide book for Animal health economics.  Well, I’ve learned some, and I have to expand to small animal too.  I was inspired by a statistic book written so freely.  I assume that is the approach I am going to use for myself.

I also found that in order to understand things, I have to find the simplest book that explain reason behind, logic inside before I move in depths of methods in biostatistics. So, I have to make myself understand all the basic principle, for sake of me.. to pass the modern methods of data analysis!