Civil servants such as teachers and doctors allocate their resources into service delivery that benefits society, and alternative efforts for income. With low salary or high cost of service delivery, or high value of alternative efforts, the latter may be chosen extensively. This may mean leaving one's job. Some idealists may focus loyally and exclusively on service delivery despite the challenges. Choosing alternative efforts cannot be eradicated, but its role can be reduced if one is aware of the logic of which factors impact how actors allocate their resources between service delivery and alternative efforts. We have used data from the education and healthcare sectors in the African countries of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Senegal to show the deficient and poor service delivery within education and healthcare services. In both sectors, education and healthcare, and for all four countries, teachers spend far less than the designated time teaching pupils, and clinicians spend very little time with patients, per day.