Yak Shaving

I hadn’t realized until a few moments ago, that I shaved a yak. Many yaks. Yak shaving refers to the completion of a handful of seemingly trivial tasks that are tangentially related and necessary to finishing a larger task.

An example.

I need to do laundry. I don’t have any cash though, so I need to go to the ATM. Given the current pandemic, I don’t want to use the ATM without gloves or disinfecting wipes, so I have to go to the store. The store is out of stock, so I have to order online. I forgot my password for Amazon, so I have to reset it before I can purchase. And on, and on it goes, until I actually get the gloves, then the cash, and then can do laundry.

I had to shave an entire Yak to get to my first problem.

Learning about Yak Shaving got me thinking about an initiative that Tim Ferriss is promoting heavily this year – finding the one decision that removes 100 other decisions.

For this year, Ferriss is questioning “what can I categorically and completely remove, even temporarily, to create space for seeing the bigger picture and finding gems?”

So when it come to Yak Shaving, find a Yak with less layers. Look for a solution that comes with two steps, instead of three. Pairing with Ferriss’ words, if we can make one decision or action that gets us through a few additional layers of Yak’s fur, we can drastically cut the noise that is surrounding us and potentially keep us from falling down too many rabbit holes.

Like this one I fell into earlier.

I went to YouTube to find an informational clip! Based on some of my prior YouTube activity, it was recommended I watch this video of a cat saying hi. After watching this video, I proceeded to send it to a bunch of my friends. They started commenting on the cat video. I started searching for more cat videos. I totally lost track of the informational clip I was seeking. I shaved an unrelated Yak.