I have learned:
*I don't have to clean as I go, I can put things away when I am done with a card.
*Printing out the sketch challenges so you can flip through a book is much faster.
*For VSN and any time, Grab your stamp and dp first, design the rest of the card from there. The colors and the layout will sometimes be dictated by those items anyway.
*It's ONLY Paper! You can always go back and make changes later. I have one card I took photos of after 45 minutes then went back and "finished" it better. It only took me 10 more minutes, but I wanted to follow the rules and be fair. I will post both versions on my blog later.
*Chocolate and VSN go together WAY too well.