Gary Bacon

Say No to Yak Shaving

This one concept has meant so much to me over the years. I continue to share it with friends and family members to this day. The reaction is always the same, “Wow. I do that!”

I like Seth Godin’s version of the story best:

Yak Shaving is the last step of a series of steps that occurs when you find something you need to do. “I want to wax the car today.”

“Oops, the hose is still broken from the winter. I’ll need to buy a new one at Home Depot.”

“But Home Depot is on the other side of the Tappan Zee bridge and getting there without my EZPass is miserable because of the tolls.”

“But, wait! I could borrow my neighbor’s EZPass…”

“Bob won’t lend me his EZPass until I return the mooshi pillow my son borrowed, though.”

“And we haven’t returned it because some of the stuffing fell out and we need to get some yak hair to restuff it.”

And the next thing you know, you’re at the zoo, shaving a yak, all so you can wax your car.

This happens all the time.

It even happened while writing this post. My internal dialog: “I am going to write a post on Yak Shaving. [ Writes two sentences. ] I should try and find a featured image that has a yak in it. [ Google ] Wait! Back to writing!”

In an environment where many things are on demand and distraction is at an all-time high, this is a technique to be mindful — pause — and place focus back on the task at hand.

Push through Resistance.

Taking a few small steps is better than taking no steps at all.