“Yak-shaving” is a term used to describe the spiral of sub-tasks resulting from commencement of desired initial task, example. To me, it’s an idiom that strikes a philosophical chord with life and the finite time available at our disposal.

On a macro level we’re all chipping away at yak-shaving missions with varying levels of sub-task inception in both our personal and professional lives. Getting things done has become a core mechanism for modern living, it provides a sense of achievement and purpose. This leads to the question of quality vs quantity. Is it better to have an abundance of meaningless yaks or a small selection of life-enriching yaks? Are you working for your yaks or are they working for you?

If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.

— Mr Biggy

In all cases this is surely a less noise more signal type scenario. Shaving the wrong yaks might keep you busy, but is time well spent? This is of course subjective but can be applied to any intended path to an outcome. The wrong yaks set you up for a task inception daymare where every step takes you further away from the goal. The right yaks keep you moving foward and are an effective use of time.

Feeling over committed or rundown is likely a sign your yak-shaving ratio is out. Easy to do, hard to identify. Time to cut that yak fat.