When you work on a project, for instance a program in the computer science field, many people pause or "bypass" work on it to work on a side project, often smaller and often a "helper" project, whether being a website, forums, marketing or else.

This is a common-anti pattern that leads to an infinite cycle of getting increasingly far from the main and most important top priority product.

Now my question is what was the name of this problem? Surely there must be a scientific name and description for that.

  • $\begingroup$ Distraction maybe? Maybe procrastination or deferring? $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 25, 2019 at 15:14
  • $\begingroup$ @ChrisRogers "Distraction" can be an everyday life simple folk way to express it, but it is neither scientific nor directly referring to a study discovery or explanation from a scientist. $\endgroup$
    – Edenia
    Commented Mar 25, 2019 at 15:22
  • $\begingroup$ I'm a software engineer/technologist, not a psychologist. In my field this is called yak shaving. It is usually a legitimate or necessary behavior that deals with management's myopic understanding either of the scope of the problem being solved, or the infrastructure/automation necessary to support the primary goal. Alternatively, it could be procrastination...which is an emotional response to the hopelessness of solving the primary problem. Either way the real problem scope is eluding someone. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 18, 2019 at 17:04

1 Answer 1


You could be talking about a number of issues. You could be talking about

  • Freudian defense mechanism repression
  • Distraction
  • Procrastination or
  • Deferring

Maybe you are talking about something else entirely.

The thing is not all observations necessarily need a "scientific" name for them in psychology or neuroscience and whatever the situation is, it would need a lot of background information to determine exactly what it is and how it manifests itself.

As it stands right now, the question could be deemed open to opinion, especially when Freudian and Neo-Freudian psychology is considered by some here to be pseudoscientific.


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