The Law of Diminishing Returns

Last night on the #DadsRT chat the question was asked “Home, work, and fun…which gets more of your attention, and which needs a little more TLC?


This immediately brought to mind the “Law of Diminishing Returns.” But to explain that in 140 characters or less on Twitter is impossible.

If any of you are into economics or investments then the “Law” is fairly familiar to you.  For those of you who don’t know, it basically says that we need to evaluate our investment, and the return on it.  As time goes on, the returns will slowly (or quickly) diminish.


Think about it this way, you just bought your kid a bouncy ball from the quarter machine at Wal-Mart. The initial bounce is their investment. The return is the ball bouncing. Of course they throw the ball down and it bounces right back up above their head.  Then it bounces again and only reaches their shoulders, next bounce their waist, next bounce, their knees, until eventually they are running around the store chasing this ball as it’s just rolling around at this point.

This is generally when you tell them to hold on to the ball or you will take it.


When we view Home, Play, and Work we need to evaluate the returns and how they are diminishing.  This can be a good indication of what needs the most TLC in your life.  When I gave this some thought, I realized a few areas in my life needed to be reevaluated.

You may think that your Home life is in check. But have you looked at how things are really going?

Routines are a good thing. But Ruts are another.  If your routines are stressing you out or making you feel underappreciated, perhaps you have hit a rut. The returns on your investments are diminishing. Maybe you need to switch things up a bit.

I know a few of the guys responded that the “Play” is what needed TLC.  After thinking about it, I realized this is where I need to put some work and better investment in.  I have a great time with my kids. But I noticed we weren’t having as much fun.  The kids were getting cabin fever and I was running out of ideas.  Luckily, the weather is warming up. We can now walk the dogs, ride bikes, etc.

Work is what I said needed TLC.  I know that sounds bad, as if I am addicted to work. This is not the case though.  When I took my job, the return on investment seemed sky high. Home every night for dinner, no weekends, breaks that coincide with the kids’ school schedule and so on.  This was awesome. However, 7 years in, I’m getting bored at work, there is no room for advancement, and the pay isn’t increasing as planned.  Don’t get me wrong I’m excited to have a job in this economic climate.  But this investment is causing lackluster returns. It is also cutting into my Home and Play life, since I come home grumpy or already bored.

Fortunately for me I have finished up school and there are new job prospects on the horizon which will still offer the same schedule but new and exciting work.

My advice to other dads: when looking at your Home, Work and Play life, and considering what to do. Make sure you are taking into consideration the Law of Diminishing Returns. Understand that everything isn’t going to be as exciting as it once was. Understand that all things will need to be reevaluated at some time. Our kids are constantly growing and changing and we have to be willing to adapt to that.


The Beginning

RTD: Favorite Fall Recipes…

The other day my wife was excited to walk into a … [Read Article]

amusement parks

(Not) Amusement Parks…

So, I know that this will come as a shock to many … [Read Article]

I’m Sorry, But This Is What…

After hearing about the acquittal of George … [Read Article]