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70 Best Time Management Quotes

70 Best Time Management Quotes

Do you ever feel like there is never enough time in the day? Despite the fact that time is perhaps the most sought-after resource available for our use, most of us are dreadful at spending it wisely. Enjoy the following 70 time management quotes organized by topic.

Plan for Success

What is the point of exercising proper time management without a clear plan built to take us where we want to go?

1. “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

2. “Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning.” – Winston Churchill

3. “Think ahead. Don’t let day-to-day operations drive out planning.” – Donald Rumsfeld

4. “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

5. “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” – Dwight Eisenhower

6. “I always say, don’t make plans, make options.” – Jennifer Aniston

7. “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” – Yogi Berra

8. “Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.” – Henry David Thoreau

9. “Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” – Alan Lakein

10. “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln

11.  “If you don’t know exactly where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?” – Steve Maraboli

12. “Meticulous planning will enable everything a man does to appear spontaneous.” – Mark Caine

13. “Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire and begin at once, whether you are ready or not, to put this plan into action.” – Napoleon Hill

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14. “A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week.” – George Patton

15. “He who every morning plans the transaction of the day and follows out that plan, carries a thread that will guide him through the maze of the most busy life. But where no plan is laid, where the disposal of time is surrendered merely to the chance of incidence, chaos will soon reign.” – Victor Hugo

Fix Your Focus

Laser-like focus on the task at hand is a deadly weapon that will help you accomplish more work in less time.

16. “One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular.” – Tony Robbins

17. “You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” – Mark Twain

18. “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” – Oprah Winfrey

19. “Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.” – Zig Ziglar

20. “To conquer frustration, one must remain intensely focused on the outcome, not the obstacles.” – T.F. Hodge

21. “You cannot run at full throttle when applying your mindset to all of the different things running through your head. Focusing is the key to manifesting your desires.” – Stephen Richards

22. “Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.” – Alexander Graham Bell

23. “I try to learn from the past, but I plan for the future by focusing exclusively on the present. That’s where the fun is.” – Donald Trump

24. “Always focus on the front windshield and not the review mirror.” – Colin Powell

25. “Temperamentally anxious people can have a hard time staying motivated, period, because their intense focus on their worries distracts them from their goals.” – Winifred Gallagher

26. “It’s about focusing on the fight and not the fright.” – Robin Roberts

27. “What do I mean by concentration? I mean focusing totally on the business at hand and commanding your body to do exactly what you want it to do.” – Arnold Palmer

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28. “Concentration is the secret of strength.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

29. “Inspiration is the windfall from hard work and focus. Muses are too unreliable to keep on the payroll.” – Helen Hanson

30. “Once taken off one task without completing the transaction, the mind continues to seek closure. Fight to stay focused on the task at hand.” – Jeff Davidson

Unleash Your Productivity

Productive workers can produce higher output in less hours, resulting in more free time for much-needed fun and relaxation.

31. “The simple act of paying positive attention to people has a great deal to do with productivity.” – Tom Peters

32. “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” – Stephen King

33. “If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.” – Bruce Lee

34. “Stressing output is the key to improving productivity, while looking to increase activity can result in just the opposite.” – Paul Gauguin

35. “Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.” – Warren Buffett

36. “Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell ’em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.” – Theodore Roosevelt

37. “In both children and adults, there can be a hard-to-deny link between a robust sense of hope and either work productivity or academic achievement.” – Jeffrey Kluger

38. “The way we measure productivity is flawed. People checking their BlackBerry over dinner is not the measure of productivity.” – Timothy Ferriss

39. “On every level of life, from housework to heights of prayer, in all judgment and efforts to get things done, hurry and impatience are sure marks of the amateur.” – Evelyn Underhill

40. “The least productive people are usually the ones who are most in favor of holding meetings.” – Thomas Sowell

41. “Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.” – David Allen

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42. “The best time to start was last year. Failing that, today will do.” – Chris Guillebeau

43. “Remember that time is money.” – Benjamin Franklin

44. “There is nothing less productive than to make more efficient what should not be done at all.” – Peter Drucker

45. “Start from wherever you are and with whatever you’ve got.” – Jim Rohm

Strive for Increased Efficiency

Cut useless activities and create systems to organize your workflow to avoid wasted time, money, and effort.

46. “Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.” – Peter Drucker

47. “Just in terms of allocation of time resources, religion is not very efficient. There`s a lot more I could be doing on a Sunday morning.” – Bill Gates

48. “Never waste any time you can spend sleeping.” – Frank Knight

49. “A particular shot or way of moving the ball can be a player’s personal signature, but efficiency of performance is what wins the game for the team.” – Pat Riley

50. “The higher your energy level, the more efficient your body. The more efficient your body, the better you feel and the more you will use your talent to produce outstanding results.” – Tony Robbins

51. “The most efficient way to produce anything is to bring together under one management as many as possible of the activities needed to turn out the product.” – Peter Drucker

52. “The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.” – Bill Gates

53. “The most efficient way to live reasonably is every morning to make a plan of one’s day and every night to examine the results obtained.” – Alexis Carrel

54. “The men who succeed are the efficient few. They are the few who have the ambition and will power to develop themselves.” – Robert Burton

55. “The way to get things done is not to mind who gets the credit for doing them.” – Benjamin Jowett

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Are You Using Time Wisely?

Let’s close with 20 quotes about time itself. Time is a mysterious, fleeting thing that has a way of escaping our grasp in the blink of an eye. Are you making the most of your time?

56. “How did it get so late so soon?” – Dr. Seuss

57. “Lost time is never found again.” – Benjamin Franklin

58. “If time were to take on human form, would she be your taskmaster or freedom fighter?” – Richie Norton

59. “I like to do weird things in the shower, like drink my coffee, brush my teeth and drink a smoothie. It’s good time management.” – Michelle Williams

60. “Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” – Marthe Troly-Curtin

61. “The essence of self-discipline is to do the important thing rather than the urgent thing.” – Barry Werner

62. “We are time’s subjects, and time bids be gone.” – William Shakespeare

63. “You can have it all. Just not all at once.” – Oprah Winfrey

64. “Time is the longest distance between two places.” – Tennessee Williams

65. “Procrastination is the foundation of all disasters.” – Pandora Poikilos

66. “You can’t make up for lost time. You can only do better in the future.” – Ashley Ormon

67. “Time is what we want most, but what we spend worst.” – William Penn

68. “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” – Mother Teresa

69. “I must govern the clock, not be governed by it.” – Golda Meir

70. “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.” – Abraham Lincoln

I hope these time management quotes provided you with a healthy dose of inspiration that will boost your productivity!

More by this author

Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on April 22, 2021

How to Work Hard the Smart Way: 4 Daily Rituals to Follow

How to Work Hard the Smart Way: 4 Daily Rituals to Follow

Habits are what sets an average leader apart from a great leader. We can argue that talent is the biggest factor; we may debate how the amount of charisma sets the two apart. Yet, if you were to show me what you believed to be a great leader, I can show you the habits that made her/him great. Great leaders have great habits and know how to work hard the smart way.

Developing Great Habits Is Hard Work

In my early college days, I had spent a lot of time learning how to play the trumpet. Playing the trumpet took time and discipline. I had some natural talent, but not enough to hide my lack of ability. My trumpet teacher was a man of discipline, and there was no doubt he had talent. What stood to me was his work ethic. He had to be one of the hardest working mentors that I had the privilege of working with.

One afternoon, I was in his office getting ready for my weekly trumpet lesson. As I was preparing, my eyes scanned the room and saw that there were quotes all over his office. My eyes rested on one quote that forever changed my thinking about my playing. It was a quote from my high school basketball coach Tim Notke that would become popular through professional athletes Kevin Durant and Tim Tebow:

“Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.”

Hard work trumps talent. The key to success is not found in your talent or ability. Talent and ability are necessary, but they are not the primary factors. They are supporting roles in the story you are writing.

Ultimately, hard work is the key to your success. A good work ethic creates the momentum that propels you forward towards your goals.

Motivation Is Not the Answer

How many times have you seen someone go to a conference, get inspired, and then come home and do nothing?

If motivation were the answer, the world would have transformed hundreds of times over. Yet, when we look out our doors or turn on the news, we do not see a utopian society.

We have thousands of people who become inspired but lack the work ethic to apply anything they have learned. Time and time again frustration creeps in. We are so motivated and inspired by what we see but fail to put in place the things that would change our lives.

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Frustration happens when the gap between what you expect to be true and what is true gets bigger. Motivation tends to create an expectation that is not rooted in reality. We want to take on the world but cannot get off Netflix long enough to do so.

Motivation is not the answer, but working hard is. Good habits and routines that produce success are the byproducts of a strong work ethic. The habits and routines we create and follow are the foundation on which we build a winning life.

How to Work Hard by Working Smarter

Here are 4 routines that will help you learn how to work hard and achieve your short term and long term goals.

1. Define What a Win Looks Like

In football, a player that crosses into the end zone gain points. In soccer, a player kicks the ball into the net to score. Hockey, lacrosse, and basketball are all the same. The player takes the object and moves it into the designated area to gain points. The team with the most points wins the game.

Why is it that we can define what a win looks like in sports, but we fail to do so in our leadership, our businesses, or our homes?

Learning how to work hard without setting a target is futile. It is insanity to work hard without having a clear direction to place your energy. I would argue that defining a win is one of the most important routines that a leader can have. Defining a win separates superficial activity from meaningful activity.

When I define a win, I know the goal line I have to cross[1]. Knowing where the goal line is informs me of the activity I have to engage in to cross it. Without a clear direction, I am spinning my wheels hoping that I will get to a destination I haven’t defined. It is like asking a GPS for directions but failing to input the destination.

4 Steps to Define a Win
  • Know the outcome you desire.
  • Declare the outcome in specific, meaningful terms.
  • Write the outcome down.
  • Set your activity list to only do that which will complete your goals.

Let me give you an example. 15 years ago, I started speaking professionally. As a young and naïve speaker, I thought winning meant that I had to get a reaction from the audience. If they cheered, smiled, or cried, I considered myself a winner. The problem was my lack of understanding of what a win looked like. As a seasoned speaker, my wins look different.

As of today, when I speak, I am not looking for any emotional reactions from the audience. I win if, and only if, I clearly communicated my point so that anyone hearing the talk can take it and apply it to their lives that day. That is how I define a win when I speak now.

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Create a habit of declaring a win. When you do, you will see your productivity soar and your encouragement increase. Pairing a hard work ethic with wise decisions creates victory. Stop being a mouse on a wheel that goes nowhere, and start being the captain of your fleet.

2. Evaluate Your Activity

Not all activity is equal. There are things you must do, things you need to do, and things we can either give away or delete. The greatest challenge of a leader is understanding the difference. Understanding what activity is busywork and what activity is mission work is pivotal.

Not only do we need to learn how to evaluate our activity, but we must make this a core routine in our arsenal of success. Stop working so hard on everything and start learning how to work hard on the right things.

Not every activity will move the needle forward for you. In fact, you were never meant to do everything yourself! Once we stop trying to be a martyr in our leadership, we can start looking at how to take things off our plates through delegation.

Based on the Eisenhower box, there are 4 things that we look at when deciding on which activities are important:

  • Do now
  • Plan to do it later
  • Delegate to someone else
  • Delete it

Powerful questions are the way you discover if the activity is right or not:

  • Does this activity move me towards or away from my goals?
  • Do I have to do this activity or can I give this activity away to someone else?
  • Does this activity have to be now right now or can it be scheduled for later dates?
  • Does this activity have to be done at all?

Evaluating the type of activity you engage in should be a routine that you do daily. Learning how to work hard should create progress. Having a system of evaluation and a routine to do it will help.

3. Prioritize Your Calendar

If you were to show me your calendar, I could show you why you are not further along. When you lack the routine of placing things on your calendar, two things happen.

First, what does not make it on your calendar does not get done.

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It is a simple truth that is often overlooked. Your calendar contains the power to change your life. Yet, we don’t use our calendars to their fullest potential.

“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” -John C. Maxwell

Also, if you don’t mark you activities on your calendar, you are leaving it open to other’s priorities.

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” -Stephen Covey

Having a routine in your life where you place things on your calendar is pivotal to your success. This is not a routine one should overlook.

It’s time to take your leadership and business to the next level. It’s time to start putting your daily routines on your calendar, along with your priorities.

4. Reflect on Your Day and Plan the Next

We are all about the morning routine. Whatever that looks like for you, there should be a routine in the morning that sets you up for success.

Hard work starts when your feet hit the ground in the morning. Creating the habit of winning starts with the first thing you accomplish that morning. If you win your morning, you will win your day.

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Best Morning Routine to Prepare to Work Hard

    But how often have you heard people talk about an evening routine? Tomorrow is won the day before it happens. When you fail to plan your day, you may put your effort toward in the wrong things. Route replaces routine. Indecision replaces decisiveness. Losses replace wins. The discouragement will deflate your momentum and increases the chances of procrastination. That is why we set our schedule the night before.

    “Every battle is won or lost before it is ever fought.” -Sun Tzu

    Working hard doesn’t have to be hard work. It shouldn’t take much out of you learn how to work hard as long as you work smart. Having a time where you reflect on the day and set your priorities is the difference-maker.

    Use these questions to reflect on your day:

    • What went well?
    • What didn’t go well?
    • What can I change?
    • What do I need to start doing?
    • What do I need to stop doing?

    The Bottom Line

    Navigating through life is hard work. Yet, the work doesn’t have to be hard when you work smarter. When you create routines that support your mission, you create wins. Working hard, the smart way will tip the balance in our favor.

    Boxing legend Joe Frazier said:

    “Champions aren’t made in the ring; they are merely recognized there.”

    Champions put in the hard work behind the scenes. The world recognized them as a champion when they saw the results of the hard work. Right now, you are doing the work of creating a champion in yourself.

    That work is setting your routines in order because you now know that success flows from your daily routines. If you are not experiencing the success you desire, then it is time to change things up.

    More on Creating Healthy Routines

    Featured photo credit: Zan via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] The Balance Careers: Interview Question: “How Do You Define Success?”

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