Enjoy these 20 inspirational, motivational time management and productivity quotes that will help you to get more done with your life. I’ve tried to make the presentation as “artistic” as possible, so I hope you like images!
Along with every entry I have added some commentary to help you understand the key lesson that each quote can teach us about productivity and managing time.
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Got any more quotes to add? If so, then contact me and I’ll try to get them added.
1. “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
Benjamin Franklin on the importance of proper preparation. While you shouldn’t become obsessional with your planning to the point where nothing gets done, preparing properly will enable you to have a greater chance at getting stuff done effectively. Get a task done right on the first go because you’re prepared, and you’ll not have to waste any precious time doing it again or fixing your mistakes. And when you are prepared for the task at hand, you can do it with greater time efficiency.
2. “A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week.”
George Patton extols the virtues of decisive action-taking. There will always be a better plan, or a more perfect way of doing things. But by the time you wait for it to come along, you will have lost a large amount of precious time. Instead; work with what you’ve got now, and tear into it with all the enthusiasm and energy you’ve got to offer.
3. “Better three hours too soon, than one minute too late.”
William Shakespeare explains why early is on time, and on time is late. Always aim to get things done sooner, rather than later. If you finish early, then you free up even more time to put towards other projects.
4. “The common man is not concerned about the passage of time, the man of talent is driven by it.”
Shoppenhauer hits a hole in one with this prescient statement. You should always concern yourself with the time you have each day, and what you do with it. Use the knowledge that time is precious to spur you on to great things.
5. “Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.”
Benjamin Franklin makes his second appearance on this list – the guy was a time management machine. This is pretty simple; don’t squander time, because it is the fabric of life itself. Every minute you waste is a piece of your life that you can never get back.
6. “Take care of the minutes, and the hours will take care of themselves.”
Lord Chesterfield explains the importance of valuing every precious minute that you have. Be wise with each minute you are given, and you will manage your time more effectively over the long term. While you should never be penny-wise and pound-foolish, the opposite goes for time management.
7. “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
Abraham Lincoln on the importance of preparing adequately, and having the right equipment to complete a job quickly. This is something I strongly believe in, and relates nicely to the first Benjamin Franklin quote that I shared. If you want to manage your time effectively (and get stuff done properly in the least amount of time) then having the right tools and resources in optimal condition will help you to do so.
8. “Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.”
This quote from Zig Ziglar encapsulates the concept that we are all given the same amount of time each day; those of us who lack direction and focus will waste hours that others use productively. Rich or poor, young or old – we all have the same number of hours in each day. It’s what we do with them that counts.
9. “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”
Stephen King explains why getting stuck in to your work with ruthless determination is better than sitting around, hoping for a “bright spark” that will get it all done with you. Pick something you want to do, and then do it – no magic meteorite is going to fall from the sky and make it happen for you.
10. “The least productive people are usually the ones who are most in favor of holding meetings”
Thomas Sowell quips on the fruitlessness of most meetings. As someone who has worked in corporate environments, I totally agree. Meetings very rarely achieve much, and serve to act as a great way to catch up on sleep and day-dreams.
11. “Time is what we want most, but what we spend worst.”
William Penn describes how all of us want more time, but most of us do not use effectively the time we are already given, meaning any extra would probably be a waste. Even if you could get 25, or 30, or 40 hours in a day – would you actually spend that time wisely?
12. “I must govern the clock, not be governed by it.”
Golda Meir demonstrates the importance of being the ‘master’ of the time you are bestowed with. Don’t let a fear of procrastination, or the guilt you feel when you’ve not been as productive as would have liked, dominate your life. Instead, take meaningful action to be the author of your own destiny, and show the clock who is boss!
13. “Don’t be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of.”
This quote from Charles Richards cuts right to the heart of effective management. Yes, there are 365 days in the year. But if you fail to use those days effectively, then you are as good as tossing them in the garbage can. Make every day count, and you’ll have a whole lot more time than you otherwise would have.
14. “Multitasking is a lie.”
Gary Keller explains a notion that I hold very dear; multitasking is one of the most pointless concepts around. No matter how good you think you are, it is not possible to do two (or more) tasks as effectively as focusing on one. If you believe otherwise, then you will always be holding yourself back from the best possible productivity and time management. When you multitask, it will often wind up taking you longer to complete each separate task to the same level as if you had focused on each one in a row. Manage your time better by giving up multitasking, and instead dedicate your energy to one task at a time.
15. “He lives long that lives well; and time misspent is not lived but lost.”
Thomas Fuller is talking here about living well, in the sense of using your time to its fullest potential. If you live well by making each hour count, then you will live a long and fulfilled life. However, time that you do waste unnecessarily is not adding any ‘value’ to your life, but is actually lost in comparison.
16. “Time is really the only capital that any human being has, and the only thing he can’t afford to lose.”
Thomas Edison enlightens us to the fact that time is, fundamentally, the only thing we all have that is of true value. By deploying time in an efficient manner (just as a business best attempts to deploy its capital) you can maximize the value of your time – and ensure it nets you the biggest possible return. And because time is so valuable, you want to avoid wasting it if at all possible.
17. “One worthwhile task carried to a successful conclusion is worth half-a-hundred half-finished tasks.”
Malcolm S. Forbes extols the benefits of focusing on a single, important task … as opposed to multitasking and trying to do too many things at once. If you want to ensure you are using your time as effectively as possible, then you absolutely need to ditch any multitasking mentality that you might have. You also need to rationalize down the number of tasks you try to complete, by focusing on doing the most important things that will deliver the greatest reward.
18. “Never leave ’till tomorrow which you can do today.”
This quote from the undeniable guru of time management, Benjamin Franklin, needs little elaboration. If you can complete something today, then don’t put it off. Once you get out of the mindset of thinking ‘I can just do this tomorrow’, then your ability to stay in control of time will skyrocket. By completing as much as you can each day (I’ve always been a fan of ensuring that you create a daily to-do list and tick everything off before bed time) you’ll ensure that you will start the next day afresh with nothing ‘lingering’ that is yet to be finished. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you stop procrastinating.
19. “The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.”
As Michael Altshuler says, time races away on us very quickly. However, you are fully in control of how you manage your time – meaning that you can extract as much or as little use out of it as you want. Even if time does fly, there is no excuse not to make the most of the journey! (NB: I couldn’t find a decent mugshot of Michael)
20. “While we are postponing, life speeds by.”
Seneca gets to the heart of why procrastination and wasted time are so terrible. While you dilly-dally and avoid deploying your time effectively, your life is actually racing away from you. Time does not stand still, and you certainly cannot rewind it. So take charge and learn how to stop procrastinating instead.
Did you enjoy these time management quotes? Do you think they will help you achieve more with the hours and minutes you are given each day? Would you like to share the wonderful gift of productivity? If so, then I’d really appreciate you sharing this article on your favorite social network – just use the buttons below to make this quick and easy!