Wow, I've been reminded lately how important deadlines are.
I've been working on this website all summer, but at a moderate pace. Then recently I put together some goals for the end of the year, which, in turn, led to other short-term goals. Now, it turns out that my short term goals are hard to meet, but not impossible.
Today was one of those days where I just wasn't in the mood for work, and I would have given up much earlier -- if it weren't for this deadline staring at me. So I worked and worked and finally met my deadline, which is cool, because I do want to reach my larger overall goal.
Deadlines, work, and fun
You could argue that I could have had a lot more fun by not working today, but (in general) I prefer having a goal and then nailing it. Work is work, and fun is fun; often they overlap, some times they don't (that's where that salary part comes in).
Software projects and deadlines
I've tried running software projects before without deadlines, but that never goes very well; the project tends to just drag on and on as everyone tweaks everything, changes their minds, etc. And I'm reminded on a personal level today about the power of deadlines, and how they can be good, motivational things, especially if they're relatively reasonable. :)