Better Done Than Perfect

I was up early, before the birdies, keeping a kitty company and sipping some coffee. I found myself browsing emails and noticed a new post from Seth Godin. It was good, as usual. What really made me snap to attention was something from his archives about yak shaving.

You just have to read a title like that. It is here.

What is yak shaving?

Yak shaving is an activity you find yourself doing only so that you eventually can do what you actually need to do. For example:

I need to wax the car.
I need to wash the car first.
I need a new hose to wash the car.
I need to go to Home Depot to get a hose.
I need a toll tag to make the drive easier.
I don’t have a toll tag, so I need to borrow my neighbor’s.
I still haven’t returned that mooshi pillow my son borrowed from him.
The pillow has lost some of its yak hair stuffing, so I need to fix it before returning it.
I need to go to the zoo to shave a yak.
The car?
Oh, yeah….

My yak shaving yesterday was the hours I spent trying to get my hosting service and a newsletter plug-in to work together. All I wanted was to get updates from my blog to people who wanted reminders about new stuff.

I thought that automating the process was a good idea.

However, after hours of searching documentation, talking to my hosting company (whose solution was to put their pricey product into a shopping cart for me), and then trying tweak after tweak after tweak, I finally threw in the towel.

I didn’t write a single word all day. I didn’t make any of those all-important follow-up and outreach calls. What I did do is produce a big pile of yak hair that I didn’t want in the first place.

My ultimate solution?

I made a simple email capture form for subscribers. I put a new list into my CRM. I installed a simple template to my CRM to send simple, mostly-text emails with updates. You will see that solution in the side bar and here.

Doing that took about 20 minutes.

Is it the solution I really wanted? Yes, sort of.

Even if it might not be perfect, it does what I need and beats the hell out of all that yak shaving I had been doing, which had nothing to do with telling people, “Hey, I’ve got new stuff on the blog!”

Or with actually getting new stuff on the blog.

Which I am now doing.

Michael Stammer is a Sales | Life | Performance coach available for individual and group coaching and speaking to organizations. For more visit

Header photo by Shane Aldendorff used under Creative Commons License.
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