Sit-ups Aren’t for Sitting Up

Every day, I use an organizational method called Getting Things Done (GTD). I read Jason Schleifer praising it so I thought I’d give it a try. I’ll get into it in depth some other time, but one aspect that’s been helping me improve is using a stack of cards that have reminders for Daily Tasks on them. I don’t have to remember what I need to do, I just do what’s on the cards.

In my stack, I wrote down things like “read an article on freelancing” or “weigh yourself and record in weight tracking program” or “meditate 5 min”. I’ve been going through the stack pretty religiously. Today, I was reading through all of the blog posts and e-mails and advice columns and tips and tricks sites that I made a card for and I looked at the clock. Most of the day was gone. I started to get really frustrated. Here I am trying to improve my knowledge base and skills and I haven’t done any animating or drawing or… well anything except for read. When I’m not reading, I’m just practicing. And practice feels like, well, practice.

Then it occurred to me. Sit-ups aren’t for sitting up.

We don’t do sit-ups to get better at sitting up. We do sit-ups to build up core muscle strength to make ALL tasks that we use those muscles for better. The only way to see that is to actually DO those other tasks. That way we can see if we need to do more crunches vs oblique work. Or just do maintenance on those and work the arms because those are flabby. I can’t drill things if I don’t know what to drill, and I don’t know what to drill if I don’t try a task and see where I’m actually weak. So without setting aside time to work on a project there’s no way I can know what I need to drill in to get better. I’ve basically just been doing conditioning and no race running.

It’s an easy trap to get into, especially when there are so many different aspects of animation to work on. The hardest part is sitting down and really figuring out what the focus right now should be. What should I focus on first? How should I go about it? I have some trusted opinions I’ll seek to figure that out, but in the meantime I’m going to take a few of my reading cards out of the queue and put in some more projects in their place.

It should be fun.

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