A friend of mine recently closed an initial round of funding for his new started. He was particularly stoked when he told me as the money had just hit their account. $1.5 million had magically appeared into his company's bank account. That's gotta be a fun feeling.
And then we both said the same thing...
He's on the clock.
Every day that passes, they are one step closer to running out of money. Sadly, a million and a half just ain't what it used to be. It will probably get them 6 months to maybe a year until they need to close their next round, and the only way to do that is to show massive progress. Time is ticking.
If you are the type of person who can handle the stress (or even better yet who thrives in a stressful environment), being on the clock can be a wonderful motivator and powerful ally. It drives you to make the most out of each and every day, every meeting, every sales call, every new hire.
Good Tequila, Bad Tequila
Sometimes we need these deadlines to help accelerate our progress. At TechStars Boulder, they had a weekly ritual where every founder had a "big rock" for the week -- the most important thing you needed to complete to drive your business forward. If you completed your big rock by the next week, you got to take a shot of good tequila. If you failed, shitty tequila. And everyone went around the room one by one and announced to the entire group whether or not they succeeded.
I love the idea of being on the clock. It forces me to take action. My lease is up next month. I have to get in shape for my wedding / vacation / summer. My finals start next week. I have no clean underwear left.
As long as there is no way to snooze your deadline, then it can be used to produce extraordinary results. Or you could just procrastinate until the absolute last possible second and produce in mediocre work. Either way, the clock is ticking.