First, understand your motivation. Are you trying to avoid something unpleasant that will happen if you don’t complete your task or are you aiming for something pleasant that will happen if you do?
The stick can be a powerful motivator in the short term, but the carrot works better in the long term.
Once you have your motivation in place, deadlines can help you stay focused. Remember, your task will fill the time allotted.
Think about how much you accomplish they day before you leave for vacation. Setting mini-deadlines for task can give you that pre-vacation productivity every day.
Have a plan. Break larger goals into smaller chunks and set deadlines for each of these pieces.
Are you a failure if you don’t meet your deadline? It depends. Did you miss your deadline because you were binging on the latest new series on Netflix? That’s not so good.
However, if you missed your deadline because you got a new client who paid your extra for a rush job, I’d say that’s a pretty good reason to change the deadline.
Another thing to consider is how close did you get to achieving your goal in the time allowed? If you can honestly say you accomplished more than you would have without the deadline, that’s still a win in my books.