Productivity: Shoot the Ball Through the Hoop

Last weekend, I was sitting on the sidelines of a basketball court, watching my son’s basketball team play. At one point of the game, my son’s team took more than 15 consecutive shots to the basket without scoring once. There was a couple of “ball hits the rim”, a couple of backboards, and a couple of air balls. These kids were working hard trying to get the ball to go through the hoop, but despite their best effort and all that activity, the end result was zero.

As I was sitting there, I had a flashback; I remembered a basketball match I saw when I was in college, where one of the teams had very explosive players—I mean they knew how to put on a basketball show.

The other team, far less explosive—actually not explosive at all—focused on the fundamentals of the game. They clearly understood the goal of the game: shoot the basketball through the hoop. They played as a team, rolled the ball well, and, more importantly, scored baskets. Though less flashy—quite bland to be honest—they won the game.

At the end of the day, what matters most in basketball—and in the world of productivity—is shooting the ball through the hoop. Being productive means getting results.

Activity doesn’t always translate to productivity; it doesn’t always translate to results. You can be busy like a bee doing the wrong things. You can be going up, down, and sideways and never finish anything and thus have nothing to show for all your efforts. You can dribble all around the court, but until you shoot the ball through the hoop, it means nothing: until you’re producing results, it means nothing.

I have been guilty of this myself, on the court and off the court. I know all too well what it is to dribble from one end of the court to the next and failing to shoot the ball through the hoop. I know all too well what it is to have a lot of “busyness” but not a lot of “progress”. I know all too well to have unfinished projects.

I’m not suggesting that showmanship and results are antithetical; they are not. There are teams that put on a great show and win games at the same time. But if I had to choose, I would choose winning games. I’m all for a good show, but let’s not forget the name of the game: results.

In your day-to-day, it doesn’t matter how many crossover dribbles you do; it matters how many points you score.

As you do what you do, remember this. Shoot. The. Ball. Through. The. Hoop.

And, yes, you are more productive when you play as a team.