Yak Shaving

Yesterday I stumbled upon one of the coolest and useful expressions I've heard in a while: Yak Shaving. What does it mean? Here's a quote from the link:
"I was working on my thesis and realized I needed a reference. I'd seen a post on comp.arch recently that cited a paper, so I fired up gnus. While I was searching the for the post, I came across another post whose MIME encoding screwed up my ancient version of gnus, so I stopped and downloaded the latest version of gnus.

"Unfortunately, the new version of gnus didn't work with emacs 18, so I downloaded and built emacs 20. Of course, then I had to install updated versions of a half-dozen other packages to keep other users from hurting me. When I finally tried to use the new gnus, it kept crapping out on my old configuration. And that's why I'm deep in the gnus info pages and my .emacs file -- and yet it's all part of working on my thesis."

And that, my friends, is yak shaving.

I recognize this situation so well. Sometimes I feel like I don't do anything but Yak Shaving. That can be really frustrating and drain your energy pretty fast. Which means it has to stop.

Now at least I have a name for it so I can say to myself: "I'm Yak Shaving. Stop doing that and go do some important stuff instead".

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