A quick question about animating..

I would like to know how you guys animate characters and such. The way I have been doing it is by one big action with everything I want the character to do. There are of course a different action for the walk cycle but thats it. Do you guys have one action create for each major movement (like one for waving and a separate one for kicking?) I’m new to the animating process but am fairly good creating still photos, now I want to combine the 2 and create a mind blowing animation. Any suggestions and tips would be very helpful.