07/13/2012 07:43 am ET Updated Sep 12, 2012

Julia Pott's GPS Guide

As an animation director, my job requires a lot of sitting alone in my studio, often in my pajamas, drawing the same thing for hours on end.

If you do this every day for three months, you can start to go a bit mad -- especially if the workload doesn't allow for much down time.

During my day to day I make sure to set up an array of elaborate distractions to keep my stamina up and fool my brain into thinking it's having fun. At any given time I have roughly four beverages on the go, ranging from hot to cold to fizzy to vodka (ho ho, just kidding), some kind of snack food and countless episodes of Radiolab or... Buffy the Vampire Slayer. If my brain is given any time to solely focus on work, it immediately has time to think "Woe is me, I wish I was outside having a crazy adventure," and stress shortly follows.

These diversions can only last so long, however, and I have a few tactics that calm me down when all else fails, and they all involve putting the work DOWN, even if just for a moment, depending on the stress level.

Stress Level 1 -- Touch your toes whilst making a cup of tea.

Stress Level 2 -- The ridiculous dance playlist teamed with ridiculous dancing. The music should be unashamedly classic and cheesy -- just give into it, it's the only way. One of my go-to moves is letting my arms go limp and then flailing them around my head, it cures all frustrations.

Stress Level 3 -- The ill-advised spur-of-the-moment adventure. You wake up one morning with a whole day's important work laid ahead of you when a friend texts you asking if you want to go to the beach. Before you know it, you're out the door rationalizing that you'll be back by 4:00 and you can cram all your work in then. You're back by 10:00, which is just enough time to eat an ice cream sandwich in front of Buffy and go to sleep, exhausted from swimming and exhilarated from playing hooky. Trust me, the work you get done the next day will be all the better

And here is my playlist:

Photo by Elizabeth Weinberg

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