I'm not sure exactly what this says about me, but from time to time I seem to find myself in chronic downtime. It happens in a kind of cyclic way, every ten to tweleve months and is independant of employer activities, though since my employment cycle of the last few years has been 12 -14 months there could be a pattern emerging.
I really enjoy having a project based focus for my work. It anchors my thinking and sets some real concrete activites for me to centre upon. I also really appreciate endorsement and support from management. It helps to provide 'legitimacy' to my activities and also ensures that someone other than me is interested in what I'm doing.
While that might sound piss weak; like I need a fucking teacher to check my work - it is a key motivator for me. If it were up to me, and I could get paid equally well for it - I'd be doing 'other things'. It is reassuring to have someone - mentor, manager, peer - endorse your work.
Which is why, when I find myself with a few too many spare hours to fill, I find it hard to self-motivate and engage in positive activities which would probably be incredibly beneficial to me such as investigating the latest new technology or practicing new techniques.
Like the soft-headed buffoon that I am, I hope that management notices how quickly I'm able to complete my work - hence the downtime. It quite clearly doesn't have that effect...