You may have never heard the term “yak shaving” before, but you’ve likely done it. Joi Ito summarized it well here:
You start out deciding to tidy your room and you realize that in order to do that you’ll need some more trash bags, so you need to go to the shops, which will involve you getting out the car, but the car needs gas, so you’ll need to go to the gas station first, which means you should probably find your gas discount card, which involves finding your keys, which are in the room somewhere…
A similar example can be found in the show “Malcolm in the Middle”:
Sometimes there can be a bit of good that comes out of some yak shaving, if you’re ever able to get to the end of the line and start working your way back.
Usually, though, the better solution is to ignore the new issue that popped up (at least for now) and focus on the task at hand.