Deadlines, in general, terrify me.
I don't know how most advisers deal with deadlines for their students, but my adviser doesn't have a set plan for every student. At some point after she meets them, she decides who needs more guidance, and who can be left to their own devices. For the former she tends to give deadlines for projects, or parts of projects; for the latter she lets them come up with their own deadlines, and usually it is for a finished draft of said project.
I fall into the latter category.