A command-line utility to help you stack your yaks.
“Yak Shaving” is a common term in the tech industry. As originally described:
You see, yak shaving is what you are doing when you're doing somestupid, fiddly little task that bears no obvious relationship to whatyou're supposed to be working on, but yet a chain of twelve causalrelations links what you're doing to the original meta-task.
In other words, Yak Shaving is the series of distractions and/or necessary tasks you find yourself doing while you were meant to be doing something else. Each progressive step is logical, but when you end up doing something completely different from what you intended, it’s easy to lose track of how you got there. When you realise you’re getting further and further away from the primary task, you’re yak shaving.
This phenomenon is so common that it has become the source of meta-jokes about stacks of yaks (where one instance of yak shaving isn’t enough), and more detailed involvement (“I’m not just shaving the yak, I’m grooming it as well”).
This script helps you keep track of your “yak frames”, or context switches. Got distracted from a task? Add it to the yak stack. Got distracted from the new task? Also add it to the yak stack. Once you’ve finished, shave the yak and go back to the previous task. Originally inspired by this usage of the term:
yak frame - n. a yak shaving stack frame. ex: "I'm currently 3-4 yak frames deep"— Charlie Somerville (@charliesome) August 19, 2013
yakstack is not a todo list, or a task management solution. It’s simply a way to keep track of your context switches, so you don’t end up thinking “what was I meant to be doing again?”
yakstack requires Python with pip:
pip install yakstack
Python 2.7 and 3+ are supported.
On first usage,
yakstack will have an empty yak stack. You have no tasks in the list.
$ yakstack No yaks to shave right now!
Adding yak frames
Any arguments to
yakstack are added as frames on your yak stack.
$ yakstack "Work on super-important project" You are currently 1 yak frame deep Work on super-important project $ yakstack "Show yak script to a colleague" You are currently 2 yak frames deep Work on super-important project ⤷ Show yak script to a colleague
You can add multiple yak frames in one command.
$ yakstack "Write a README for yakstack" "Argument on Twitter" You are currently 4 yak frames deep Work on super-important project ⤷ Show yak script to a colleague ⤷ Write a README for yakstack ⤷ Argument on Twitter
Removing yak frames
To remove an item from the stack, use the
$ yakstack --shave You are currently 3 yak frames deep Work on super-important project ⤷ Show yak script to a colleague ⤷ Write a README for yakstack # THIS ALSO WORKS $ yakstack -s
You can also remove multiple yak frames in one command. Use multiple
$ yakstack --shave --shave You are currently 1 yak frame deep Work on super-important project # THIS ALSO WORKS $ yakstack -ss
Managing multiple yak stacks
Sometimes you might have different yak stacks running at the same time, to track distractions from different projects. Perhaps you want to track things separately for your personal projects when you’re not at work.
To switch to a different profile, use the
-p) option with a profile name. Once you have more than one profile,
yakstack will always tell you which profile you’re using.
$ yakstack You are currently 1 yak frame deep Write README for yakstack $ yakstack --profile work No yaks to shave right now for profile "work"!
The default profile used by
yakstack is called, unsurprisingly, “default”.
You can switch profiles while adding new yak frames.
$ yakstack -p default "Find out latest sports scores" You are currently 2 yak frames deep for profile "default" Write README for yakstack ⤷ Find out latest sports scores
The arguments to
yakstack follow standard Unix command-line patterns. This means that space characters separate multiple arguments (and therefore multiple yak frames). To add a sentence containing spaces to your yak stack it must be surrounded by quotes.
# With quotes $ yakstack 'A single sentence with quotes' "And another one" You are currently 2 yak frames deep A single sentence with quotes ⤷ And another one # Without quotes $ yakstack This adds a whole bunch of frames You are currently 9 yak frames deep A single sentence with quotes ⤷ And another one ⤷ This ⤷ adds ⤷ a ⤷ whole ⤷ bunch ⤷ of ⤷ frames
Oh, and one more thing:
$ yakstack --sax