Joseph Jude

Are you sure you are not shaving the yak?

Beware of productivity distractions

“Are you shaving the yak”

The other day I wanted to clean the house. When I started, I found out that there were no trash bags. I needed the car to get trash bags, but the car was so dirty. So I cleaned the car. When I switched on the car, I found that I need to fill gas immediately. So I went to the petrol station, and then to the shop. When I finally came back home, I had lost two full hours.

Such distractions happen in my professional life way too often. I coded the app that runs my website. Some day, I will find out a bug in a particular file. When I’m about to fix it, I will notice that the file is way too big, and I should separate the file into different files. When I set out to do it, I usually get myself into a deep mess of not fixing the bug and introducing more bugs. Now I’m frustrated.

“Shaving the yak” is a term coined in MIT computer labs, which means doing something that is only slightly related to what you are doing, just because you think it is important to the original task.

Tell me, do you shave yaks?

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Under: #wins , #productivity
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