Motion vs. Action

I’m late to the party on this one, but I finally read — and, more importantly, saw the difference between motion and action.

Motion is a Getting Things Done term for what Seth Godin calls “thrashing.”

That’s the researching, networking, spreadsheet-making, introspecting, strategizing, and all the other activities that precede outcome-oriented action.

Action is GTD for “shipping.” That’s hitting send on a job application (or several), making a targeted ask with a followup, or otherwise putting real work into the world.

Thrashing/shipping language didn’t come as naturally to me, but “Is this motion or is this action?” activates a clear distinction in my mind.

And that helps illustrate Seth’s oft-made point that “the time to thrash is at the beginning.” Simply applying to jobs is one way to find the one you want. But it’s a lot better to have gone through enough motion to be confident in your strategy before springing into action.