If you need deadlines to do your best work…
Make some up.
There’s no shame in that. In fact, it’s a brilliant hack.
Set up a method of reward or punishment with a third party. Money in escrow that goes to a cause you abhor. Public congratulations. Whatever the method, the point is the same: You’ve been trained since childhood to respond to external deadlines. For many people, that’s the only way to feel the magic of accomplishment.
If you need the last minute to be your best self, first go manufacture some last minutes.
[David points us to beeminder.]