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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

        More by this author

        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 April 19, 2021

        How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

        How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

        You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

        We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

        The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

        Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

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        1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

        Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

        For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

        • (1) Research
        • (2) Deciding the topic
        • (3) Creating the outline
        • (4) Drafting the content
        • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
        • (6) Revision
        • (7) etc.

        Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

        2. Change Your Environment

        Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

        One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

        3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

        Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

        Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

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        My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

        Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

        4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

        If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

        Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

        I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

        For more tips on how to eliminate your procrastination pit-stops, join the free Fast-Track Class – No More Procrastination. It’s a focused 30-minute session in which you will understand more about your procrastination behavior and get over it once and for all. Join it now.

        5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

        I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

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        Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

        As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

        6. Get a Buddy

        Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

        I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

        7. Tell Others About Your Goals

        This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

        For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

        8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

        What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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        9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

        If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

        Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

        10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

        Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

        Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

        11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

        At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

        Reality check:

        I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future. Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

        Bonus: Think Like a Rhino

        More Tips for Procrastinators to Start Taking Action

        Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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