Procrastinator will definitely get to it later
Dear Amy: I love my job and career.
My manager is flexible and kind, my coworkers are helpful and fun to work with and the work is challenging and enjoyable. It's what I want to do with my life.
But, when faced with tasks, I somehow lack the motivation to finish them until the very last second. This has been a problem in a lot of areas of my life (mostly housework and previously, schoolwork). I don't have ADHD or depression, but I do have some anxiety, and I don't know if it is related. I am in therapy for other things, but have yet to hit on a solution.
Sometimes, my brain is screaming, "Shut that browser window and do the thing they're paying you to do!" but then I watch myself NOT do that.
The work gets done and it gets done well and on its due date, but for the days or hours leading up, I find myself unable to avoid distraction. I can't find the motivation.
Is this uncommon? I don't want to sabotage my life or career. The work does get done, but in the moments where I should be doing it, instead I'm cruising around online, sending emails, doing unrelated research -- anything but the thing itself. How can I curb this behavior?
-- Happy But Unmotivated
Dear Unmotivated: I'll skip over my mini-lecture about "time theft" at your workplace, and get right to what I think is going on.
I suspect that your issue is not actually motivation, but procrastination. And yes, your anxiety is both a source and a product of your procrastination.
First of all, you could consider this behavior as part of your "process." My house is never cleaner than when I have a deadline, but during this time, I find I'm mentally noodling on the work I have to do.