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Last Updated on January 25, 2021

30 Best Procrastination Quotes to Get You Back to Work

30 Best Procrastination Quotes to Get You Back to Work

What do your 3pm fridge raid and perfectly alphabetised bookshelf have in common?

You most likely did both of them when you should have been doing work.

Procrastination is one of the most human behaviours. We’re all guilty of putting off what we know is important from time to time, and it seems the more pressing the task at hand, the better we are at avoiding it.

Sure, it means that every time we have an important deadline we end up with a spotlessly clean house and a completely empty inbox, but the real work gets left until the very last minute and is finished in a frenzy of stress and caffeine.

But we can gain control over procrastination by noticing it as soon as possible and stopping it in its tracks. On the contrary, you know you have a bad habit when you’re aware you’re putting something off, and you continue avoiding it anyway.

To start you off with combating procrastination, here are 30 procrastination quotes to get you in a motivated frame of mind, because if procrastination has any enemies, it’s motivation to work harder.

A Few Home Truths

“Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well.”
― Mark Twain


“It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end.”
― Leonardo da Vinci


“Someday is not a day of the week.”
― Janet Dailey


“Success is not obtained overnight. It comes in instalments; you get a little bit today, a little bit tomorrow until the whole package is given out. The day you procrastinate, you lose that day’s success.”
― Israelmore Ayivor


“The man who waits to know everything is the man who never does anything.”
― Craig D. Lounsbrough


“Procrastination is like going to a fancy restaurant and filling up on bread and not leaving enough room for dinner.”
― Richie Norton, The Power of Starting Something Stupid: How to Crush Fear, Make Dreams Happen, and Live without Regret


“Procrastination is the lazy cousin of fear. When we feel anxiety around an activity, we postpone it.”
― Noelle Hancock, My Year with Eleanor


“Doing things at the last minute reminds us of the importance of doing things at the first minute.”
― Matshona Dhliwayo


“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”
― Abraham Lincoln


“A day can really slip by when you’re deliberately avoiding what you’re supposed to do.”
― Bill Watterson, There’s Treasure Everywhere


“By what right do I, who have wasted this day, make claims on tomorrow?”
― Alain-Fournier, Le Grand Meaulnes


“If you want to get ahead in life, I’ve found that perhaps the most useless word in the world is “tomorrow.”
― José N. Harris


Some Practical Advice

    “If you get stuck, get away from your desk. Take a walk, take a bath, go to sleep, make a pie, draw, listen to music, meditate, exercise; whatever you do, don’t just stick there scowling at the problem. But don’t make telephone calls or go to a party; if you do, other people’s words will pour in where your lost words should be. Open a gap for them, create a space. Be patient.”
    ― Hilary Mantel


    “Thinking too much leads to paralysis by analysis. It’s important to think things through, but many use thinking as a means of avoiding action.”
    ― Robert Herjavec, The Will To Win: Leading, Competing, Succeeding


    “Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone”
    ― Pablo Picasso


    “It is only by working the rituals, that any significant degree of understanding can develop. If you wait until you are positive you understand all aspects of the ceremony before beginning to work, you will never begin to work.”
    ― Lon Milo DuQuette, The Magick of Aleister Crowley: A Handbook of the Rituals of Thelema


    “Do first what you don’t want to do most.”
    ― Clifford Cohen


    “How often do you find yourself saying, “In a minute”, “I’ll get to it” or “Tomorrow’s good enough” and every other possible excuse in the book? Compare it with how often you decide it’s got to be done, so let’s get on and do it! That should tell you just how serious your procrastinating problem really is.”
    ― Stephen Richards, The Secret of Getting Started: Strategies to Triumph over Procrastination


    “How to stop procrastinating starts with believing you can overcome procrastination.”
    ― Robert Moment, How to Stop Procrastinating


    “Never put things off…you will wake up and find them gone.”
    ― James Jones


    Some Tough Love

      “Do something instead of killing time. Because time is killing you.”
      ― Paulo Coelho, Aleph


      “If you take too long in deciding what to do with your life, you’ll find you’ve done it.”
      ― George Bernard Shaw


      “If you want to get ahead in life, I’ve found that perhaps the most useless word in the world is “tomorrow.”
      ― José N. Harris


      “What is deferred is not avoided.”
      ― Thomas More


      “Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work”
      ― Chuck Close


      “If you always do what is easy and choose the path of least resistance, you never step outside your comfort zone. Great things don’t come from comfort zones.”
      ― Roy Bennett


      “Your ideas have legs and just as they run through your head, they could be running through someone else’s head and it’s just a matter of who gets to the finish line first. Nothing is new under the sun so act on your ideas.”― Sanjo Jendayi


      “You may not be punished for your procrastination, but for sure you will be punished by your procrastination.”
      ― Debasish Mridha


      When You Need Pulling out of Procrastination

        “Time is an equal opportunity employer. Each human being has exactly the same number of hours and minutes every day. Rich people can’t buy more hours. Scientists can’t invent new minutes. And you can’t save time to spend it on another day. Even so, time is amazingly fair and forgiving. No matter how much time you’ve wasted in the past, you still have an entire tomorrow.”
        ― Denis Waitley


        “A year from now you may wish you had started today.”
        ― Karen Lamb


        Print these quotes out, stick them on the wall in front of your desk – do whatever it takes to remember why you shouldn’t be putting your work off, or getting distracted by a desire to rearrange your socks into colour order.

        It won’t be easy, but being aware of how detrimental procrastination is to your longer-term goals is the first step towards overcoming it.

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        More Tips About Beating Procrastination

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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        Tam Henderson

        A productive copywriter for busy marketing directors who don't have the time or appetite for writing.

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        Last Updated on July 21, 2021

        Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

        Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

        Procrastination is very literally the opposite of productivity. To produce something is to pull it forward, while to procrastinate is to push it forward — to tomorrow, to next week, or ultimately to never.

        Procrastination fills us with shame — we curse ourselves for our laziness, our inability to focus on the task at hand, our tendency to be easily led into easier and more immediate gratifications. And with good reason: for the most part, time spent procrastinating is time spent not doing things that are, in some way or other, important to us.

        There is a positive side to procrastination, but it’s important not to confuse procrastination at its best with everyday garden-variety procrastination.

        Sometimes — sometimes! — procrastination gives us the time we need to sort through a thorny issue or to generate ideas. In those rare instances, we should embrace procrastination — even as we push it away the rest of the time.

        Why We Procrastinate After All?

        We procrastinate for a number of reasons, some better than others. One reason we procrastinate is that, while we know what we want to do, we need time to let the ideas “ferment” before we are ready to sit down and put them into action.

        Some might call this “creative faffing”; I call it, following copywriter Ray Del Savio’s lead, “concepting”.[1]

        Whatever you choose to call it, it’s the time spent dreaming up what you want to say or do, weighing ideas in your mind, following false leads and tearing off on mental wild goose chases, and generally thinking things through.

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        To the outside observer, concepting looks like… well, like nothing much at all. Maybe you’re leaning back in your chair, feet up, staring at the wall or ceiling, or laying in bed apparently dozing, or looking out over the skyline or feeding pigeons in the park or fiddling with the Japanese vinyl toys that stand watch over your desk.

        If ideas are the lifeblood of your work, you have to make time for concepting, and you have to overcome the sensation— often overpowering in our work-obsessed culture — that faffing, however creative, is not work.

        Is Procrastination Bad?

        Yes it is.

        Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re “concepting” when in fact you’re just not sure what you’re supposed to be doing.

        Spending an hour staring at the wall while thinking up the perfect tagline for a marketing campaign is creative faffing; staring at the wall for an hour because you don’t know how to come up with a tagline, or don’t know the product you’re marketing well enough to come up with one, is just wasting time.

        Lack of definition is perhaps the biggest friend of your procrastination demons. When we’re not sure what to do — whether because we haven’t planned thoroughly enough, we haven’t specified the scope of what we hope to accomplish in the immediate present, or we lack important information, skills, or resources to get the job done.

        It’s easy to get distracted or to trick ourselves into spinning our wheels doing nothing. It takes our mind off the uncomfortable sensation of failing to make progress on something important.

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        The answer to this is in planning and scheduling. Rather than giving yourself an unspecified length of time to perform an unspecified task (“Let’s see, I guess I’ll work on that spreadsheet for a while”) give yourself a limited amount of time to work on a clearly defined task (“Now I’ll enter the figures from last months sales report into the spreadsheet for an hour”).

        Giving yourself a deadline, even an artificial one, helps build a sense of urgency and also offers the promise of time to “screw around” later, once more important things are done.

        For larger projects, planning plays a huge role in whether or not you’ll spend too much time procrastinating to reach the end reasonably quickly.

        A good plan not only lists the steps you have to take to reach the end, but takes into account the resources, knowledge and inputs from other people you’re going to need to perform those steps.

        Instead of futzing around doing nothing because you don’t have last month’s sales report, getting the report should be a step in the project.

        Otherwise, you’ll spend time cooling your heels, justifying your lack of action as necessary: you aren’t wasting time because you want to, but because you have to.

        How Bad Procrastination Can Be

        Our mind can often trick us into procrastinating, often to the point that we don’t realize we’re procrastinating at all.

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        After all, we have lots and lots of things to do; if we’re working on something, aren’t we being productive – even if the one big thing we need to work on doesn’t get done?

        One way this plays out is that we scan our to-do list, skipping over the big challenging projects in favor of the short, easy projects. At the end of the day, we feel very productive: we’ve crossed twelve things off our list!

        That big project we didn’t work on gets put onto the next day’s list, and when the same thing happens, it gets moved forward again. And again.

        Big tasks often present us with the problem above – we aren’t sure what to do exactly, so we look for other ways to occupy ourselves.

        In many cases too, big tasks aren’t really tasks at all; they’re aggregates of many smaller tasks. If something’s sitting on your list for a long time, each day getting skipped over in favor of more immediately doable tasks, it’s probably not very well thought out.

        You’re actively resisting it because you don’t really know what it is. Try to break it down into a set of small tasks, something more like the tasks you are doing in place of the one big task you aren’t doing.

        More consequences of procrastination can be found in this article: 8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life

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        Procrastination, a Technical Failure

        Procrastination is, more often than not, a sign of a technical failure, not a moral failure.

        It’s not because we’re bad people that we procrastinate. Most times, procrastination serves as a symptom of something more fundamentally wrong with the tasks we’ve set ourselves.

        It’s important to keep an eye on our procrastinating tendencies, to ask ourselves whenever we notice ourselves pushing things forward what it is about the task we’ve set ourselves that simply isn’t working for us.

        Learn more about how to fix your procrastination problem here: What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

        Featured photo credit: chuttersnap via unsplash.com

        Reference

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