As coders, most of us are not only familiar with the term yak shaving, but spend many of our days doing nothing but. I often struggle to explain to non-technical folks what I actually spend my time doing when I'm working and what it feels like. This is the most accessible explanation I can come up with.
Say you want to go see a movie with your friend Joe. You can't get away with leaving the house when the kitchen is such a mess, so you have to load and run the dishwasher before you go. Unfortunately you're out of detergent, which means you have to run to the store to pick some up. You want to ride your bike or it will take too long to get to the store. But your bike's front tire is kind of low, so you have to pump it up first. However, your roommate borrowed your tire pump and you don't know where it is, so you have to go find your roommate and ask him about it. He's over at a neighbor's place having band practice, but it's just a short walk. When you get there they are in the middle of practice so you have to wait for a few minutes. The only place to sit is on that ratty old sofa, right next to the drummer's sister, Monica, who will only let you sit there on the condition you smoke a joint with her. But before you can do that you have to dig around in the seat cushions to find the lighter she just realized she lost. You manage to find the lighter, and before too long you are smoking out with Monica. The band finishes the number and your roommate comes over to see what's up. You take another hit off the joint and say "Hey, we should order a pizza."