Enhancing Efforts with the Alley-oop

The advantages of tag teamwork on any random task

I try to clean up the kitchen after dinner. Most of the time I finish everything up, but some days I get 80% done, run out of steam, and can’t seem to finish the job. It’s time for a break. (Yes, I know how silly this sounds.)


Then wife comes along and, only seeing a few pans in the sink, washes them and starts the dishwasher. Alley-oop.

Think of how a basketball player throwing the ball at the basket as a pass to his teammate who jumps, catches the ball, and immediately dunks it. This is an alley-oop.

Wife has her own tasks she can’t quite complete in one sitting. This is my cue to tag her out and make the shot.

Is this lazy, efficient, or somewhere in between?

Let me answer the question with a question. Assuming the task gets done, is it better to work harder alone or work less with someone else?

By a huge factor, the latter method wins.

It’s a result of our application of energy conservation, which we will discuss more in future posts.

So wife and I are trying out what we’re learning at home, in the classroom of our kitchen.

And it’s working.

“Why not just power through and finish the job?” you might say. Well, because it sometimes it costs too much energy to justify.

The Power of Full Engagement discusses the importance of taking breaks to conserve one of your most valuable resources — energy. I’m now convinced of how much more you can accomplish by resting better and more often.

There’s something wise about tapping out before you burn out.

It allows you to replenish your (finite) supply of energy. Otherwise, fatigue sets in and your effective output drops dramatically. One more time, so it sinks in…

With more and better breaks, you will accomplish more.

And if you can hand off the task to someone else who is freshly rested, all the better.

Next time you decide to power through and finish the job, realize you are choosing to perform poorly because of it. Maybe your unrelenting work ethic is working against you.

Are you pushing yourself too hard and for too long, yielding poor results?