I’m yak shaving this week. When I returned from the Agile conference, my right ear didn’t clear. It’s all clogged now, and the left one isn’t totally clear either. I have vertigo. I’m moving slowly and look drunk when I walk.
In the meantime, I have articles to write, proposals to finish, work to do. I find that in order to finish an article, I have to first do three other things, some of which involve tilting my head one way or another, taking more decongestant, chewing gum, or drinking tea.
My yak shaving isn’t too onerous this week, but it feels kinda strange. Normally, I just finish a task. Not this week.
I first learned about yak shaving when I read the book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie to my children. I’d certainly encountered it in projects, and have since then. I didn’t know this was called yak shaving until recently.
Added later because I wasn’t clear: Yak shaving is when you have to do something–usually several other things–to finish the task. An example: in order to mow the lawn, you need to get a sharp blade, but you can’t ask Bob next door because you didn’t return his screwdriver. So you have to drive to the store to sharpen the blade. In order to drive to the store, you need gas. At the gas station, you notice your inspection has expired, so you ask them to inspect your car. They tell you that to pass inspection you need new windshield wipers, so you go to the autoparts store where you not only get windshield wipers, but a new steering wheel cover. You go back to the gas station, they verify you have new windshield wipers, you get the inspection sticker and get to the store where they normally sharpen your lawn mover blade, and realize they’ve closed early today. (does that help?)
So, I’m slow this week, both walking and writing. If my ears clear soon, I will be thrilled. If not soon, I have other alternatives.
Here’s a question for you: are you yak shaving? What is preventing you from doing work quickly and easily? Is there a solution that will let you do so? It’s worth looking at your work to see if you are yak shaving.