The act of “yak shaving,” also known as “bikeshedding,” is a specific kind of procrastination that can hold you back from getting the most out of your workday.
What Does Yak Shaving Have to Do with My Business?
Yak shaving is just another way to define semi-defensible procrastination. It uses the following scenario to make its point: you need to complete a proposal, but you might be tired from a long day of work, making concentration difficult at best. You start to look into the best kind of coffee to get into a productive mindset, and your research yields potent results. The best coffee beans in the world come from a remote island, and they can only be harvested by a yak. So, now you need a yak. You take a trip to the Himalayas to acquire said yak, but the yak can’t take the temperate climate of the island with the coffee beans. In order to bring the yak to the island, you’ll have to shave its long fur off. Once that’s been done, you can take that yak to the island, harvest your coffee beans, and brew that perfect cup of coffee for flawless productivity to finish your proposal.
Basically, it takes a normal problem and uses a ridiculous and overly elaborate method to resolve the issue, but this in itself creates complication to get away from doing the less desired task. Everyone has been in this position before, where a particular task is so unappealing that they would do anything to get away from it, but the fact remains that the task needs to be done, whether you want to do it or not.
How to Identify (and Overcome) Your Hairy Yaks
The first thing to do if you think an issue like this arises is to notice how you tend to react to them. Consider all of the tasks you need to complete; how many of them actually have to be done to reach your ultimate goal? There’s no doubt that looking for excuses will lead to procrastination rather than productivity.
Imagine all the time spent earlier looking into the yak and the island with the coffee. What if you invested all of that time and energy into completing the task? Instead of wasting time, you could have already completed the task, rendering the need for the yak obsolete. Granted, the problem-solving skills you’ll acquire might seem valuable, and they are to an extent, so it’s not a complete waste–just not a great choice in the first place.
Think of the Task as an Investment
Time is money, and time-consuming tasks can be a waste if they aren’t being handled as well as possible. Think about it like this; you’ve already invested a considerable amount of time and effort into one solution, so why not simply go all the way with it and finish it, if the alternative is to waste even more time?
Overall, you need to remember that successfully completing a goal should outweigh the frustration of having to do it. The results are what matters primarily, but if you have only been working on something for a couple of moments, don’t be afraid to change it up.
The technology you use will play a considerable role in the way you complete a task.