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Last Updated on December 18, 2019

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 a few 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.

          More Tips on Overcoming 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 January 13, 2020

          50 Motivational Quotes for Work to Inspire Success

          50 Motivational Quotes for Work to Inspire Success

          Let’s face it – no matter how excited you are about a new project or priority in your life, there will always be days when your motivation lags. Days when – despite all the progress you’ve made in the past – it just sounds easier to sit on the couch playing video games than to buckle down and crank out the work needed to meet your goals.

          In order to be successful, you must be able to motivate yourself past these humps. Whenever you feel your drive and determination lagging, turn to these motivational quotes for work to provide the extra spark of passion needed to keep you on track.

          Quotes about Goal Setting

          Whether you’re still in the planning phases of your business or whether you’re plotting a plan of attack to bring about your long-range vision, setting good goals is a critical part of succeeding in business.

          Check out these quotes for extra inspiration on how to turn your dreams into reality:

          quote-Benjamin-E.-Mays-the-tragedy-in-life-doesnt-lie-in-106113

            “The tragedy in life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach.”– Benjamin Mays


            “By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands — your own.”–Mark Victor Hansen


            “Give yourself an even greater challenge than the one you are trying to master and you will develop the powers necessary to overcome the original difficulty.”–William J. Bennett – The Book of Virtues


            “The entrepreneur is essentially a visualizer and actualizer… He can visualize something, and when he visualizes it he sees exactly how to make it happen.”–Robert L. Schwartz

            Quotes about Achieving Excellence in Work

            Once you’ve got your goals together, you’ll need to put in 110% of your effort in order to transform these visions into reality. To increase your motivation to work at a consistently high level, take a look at the following words of wisdom:

            “Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”–Aristotle


            “If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.”–Charles R. Swindoll

            Desire is the key to motivation

              “Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal — a commitment to excellence — that will enable you to attain the success you seek.”–Mario Andretti


              “The secret of joy in work is contained in one word – excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it.”–Pearl Buck


              “The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.”–Vince Lombardi

              Quotes about Determination and Persistence

              Since every business or other endeavor is bound to hit some rough patches, it’s often a person’s level of determination and patience that brings about either success or failure. These positive quotes give you an extra boost of encouragement:

              “Enter every activity without giving mental recognition to the possibility of defeat. Concentrate on your strengths, instead of your weaknesses… on your powers, instead of your problems.”–Paul J. Meyer


              “Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.”–Hal Borland


              “Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”–Calvin Coolidge

              quote-Thomas-Fuller-an-invincible-determination-can-accomplish-almost-anything-92190

                “An invincible determination can accomplish almost anything and in this lies the great distinction between great men and little men.”–Thomas Fuller

                Quotes about Leadership

                Whether you use it to engage your employees, to encourage teamwork or motivate others to follow your unique way of thinking, leadership is crucial. Take your leadership cues from these renowned leaders’ famous sayings:

                “The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born — that there is a genetic factor to leadership. This myth asserts that people simply either have certain charismatic qualities or not. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.” –Warren G. Bennis


                “All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.”–John Kenneth Galbraith

                Leadership is not magnetic personality

                  “Leadership is not magnetic personality — that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not ‘making friends and influencing people’ — that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.”–Peter F. Drucker


                  “The task of leadership is not to put greatness into people, but to elicit it, for the greatness is there already.”–John Buchan


                  “High sentiments always win in the end. The leaders who offer blood, toil, tears and sweat always get more out of their followers than those who offer safety and a good time. When it comes to the pinch, human beings are heroic.”–George Orwell

                  Quotes for Success

                  Think of success as a holistic process – one which results from the combination of goal-setting, excellence, patience, determination and leadership you prioritize throughout your career. These highly successful people provide you with an excellent source of motivation:

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                  “Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender; it’s holy ground. There’s no greater investment.”–Stephen Covey


                  “Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.”–Norman Vincent Peale

                  Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.

                    “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”–Winston Churchill


                    “Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential.”–John Maxwell


                    “Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that’s where you will find success.”– Thomas J. Watson


                    “The great successful men of the world have used their imagination.  They think ahead and create their mental picture in all its details, filling in here, adding a little there, altering this a bit and that a bit, but steadily building – steadily building.”–Robert Collier


                    “It is a paradoxical but profoundly true and important principle of life that the most likely way to reach a goal is to be aiming not at that goal itself but at some more ambitious goal beyond it.”–Arnold Toynbee

                    Sports Quotes for Athletes

                    You don’t need to be a Michael Jordan-caliber athlete to draw inspiration from the following quotes. Even if you’re just a recreational player or someone who’s using sports as a means to get back in shape after long periods of inactivity, the following motivational sports quotes will encourage you:

                    “My attitude is that if you push me towards something that you think is a weakness, then I will turn that perceived weakness into a strength.”–Michael Jordan


                    “Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.”–Lance Armstrong

                    Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths.

                      “Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”–Arnold Schwarzenegger


                      “I know what I have to do, and I’m going to do whatever it takes. If I do it, I’ll come out a winner, and it doesn’t matter what anyone else does.”–Florence Griffith Joyner


                      “Every time you stay out late; every time you sleep in; every time you miss a workout; every time you don’t give 100% – You make it that much easier for me to beat you.”–Unknown


                      “If you are hurt, whether in mind or body, don’t nurse your bruises. Get up and light-heartedly, courageously, good temperedly get ready for the next encounter. This is the only way to take life – this is also ‘playing’ the game!”–Emily Post


                      “We must train from the inside out. Using our strengths to attack and nullify any weaknesses. It’s not about denying a weakness may exist but about denying its right to persist.”–Vince McConnell

                      Quotes to Motivate Learning

                      Committing yourself to pursuing knowledge in a single area is a tremendous endeavor – one that often seems overwhelming given the depth and breadth of information that’s available today. Keep the following motivational quotes in mind if you’re learning:

                      “How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and the strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these.”–George Washington Carver

                      quote-William-Arthur-Ward-if-you-can-imagine-it-you-can-36189

                        “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it.”–William Arthur Ward


                        “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”– Aristotle


                        “Success is not the key to happiness.Happiness is the key to success.If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”–Albert Schweitzer


                        “Wear your learning, like your watch, in a private pocket: and do not pull it out and strike it, merely to show that you have one.”–Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield


                        “He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.”–Chinese Proverb


                        “Study while others are sleeping; work while others are loafing; prepare while others are playing; and dream while others are wishing.”–William Arthur Ward


                        “Books can be dangerous. The best ones should be labeled ‘This could change your life’.”–Helen Exley


                        “A book is like a garden carried in the pocket.”–Chinese Proverb

                        All-Time Favorite Positive Quotes

                        Finally, whatever your goals are in life, you can’t go wrong by taking the advice of the following famous motivational quotes:

                        “Change your thoughts and you change your world.”–Norman Vincent Peale


                        “Your time is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinion drowned your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”–Steve Jobs


                        “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”–Maria Robinson


                        “Out of clutter, find Simplicity. From discord, find Harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies Opportunity.”–Albert Einstein


                        “Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.”–Lyndon Johnson

                        If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.

                          “If we did all the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves.”–Thomas Edison


                          “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”–Wayne Gretzky


                          “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”–Winston Churchill


                          “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”–Ralph Waldo Emerson

                          Final Thoughts

                          To use these motivational quotes effectively, find the one that speaks to you. Although all of the phrases listed above can be considered “motivational,” only you can decide which one resonates with you most directly.

                          Next, take the quote you’ve settled on and copy it onto small index cards or other pieces of paper that can be stored around your home and workspace.

                          If you’re creative, you can create inspiration boards, signs or other decorative displays featuring your favorite motivational quotes – really, though, the most important thing is that your chosen phrase be accessible in a variety of different places. This will make it easy to access and review whenever you feel your motivation slipping away.

                          More Inspiring Quotes

                          Featured photo credit: Kyle Glenn via unsplash.com

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