Time is as abstract as it is unavoidable. The fear of not having enough time or racing against the clock to achieve our dreams is not exclusively ours. People have worried over it for centuries.
We’ve compiled a list of ten most valuable thoughts on time that just might change how you perceive it.
10 best time quotes
1. “Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” – Marthe Troly-Curtin
This famous line holds a very true sentiment. Within “the grind” culture today, we tend to think that whatever doesn’t make us money or is an investment in the future is a waste of time. Instead, we should realize that so long as we enjoy an activity, the amount of time spent on it doesn’t matter.
Enjoy your Netflix binge if it will ease the stress of the day; go window shopping for hours; nap out your afternoon. Enjoy your downtime guilt-free.
2. “We must use time as a tool, not as a couch.” – John F. Kennedy
Once we start understanding how time can be used as a tool to reach a goal, rather than something we passively rely on, life gets much easier.
3. “Time is what we want most but what we use worst.” – William Penn
Learning how to manage our time is a skill that requires constant work. We tend to lose a lot of time on unnecessary things – a minute here, ten minutes there, only to end up with an entire wasted day on meaningless tasks.
If we want to use our time in the best way possible, it’s important to practice prioritizing.
4. “Tough times never last, but tough people do.” – Robert H. Schuller
We more commonly hear “This too shall pass”, as a way of comforting ourselves during difficult times. But what we often forget is that those moments are when we truly grow, harden and evolve.
Simply waiting for a rough period to pass, we lose out on the opportunity to learn from the experience and become stronger. See what lessons you can learn from such a time.
5. “Someday” is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you.” – Timothy Ferriss
Too many times we’ve heard stories of people regretting not taking a chance on their dreams because they weren’t good enough yet, or weren’t confident enough, or lacked the resources or support. When we keep promising ourselves that “someday” we’ll realize our passion, we effectively lose time.
It is better to take a risk and put in the effort to realize a dream because then we get the chance to learn and improve. Otherwise, we’re left with a perpetual “what if…”.
6. “Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.” – Bil Keane
Simple, but effective. It’s a good reminder that we should appreciate the time we have now because not everyone is lucky enough to have it.
Being appreciative of the moment you have right now does wonders for motivation and overcoming difficulties.
7. “Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.” – William Shakespeare
In this quote from “The Merry Wives of Windsor”, Shakespeare alluded to the benefits of doing something earlier rather than missing an opportunity. It is so easy to put off things like writing up an email, checking a job listing, getting a medical check-up and so on. We get lost in other things until it becomes too late.
Combat your procrastination, even if it means doing something way before the deadline.
8. “The past always looks better than it was. It’s only pleasant because it isn’t here.” – Finley Peter Dunne
Have you noticed how each generation tends to reminisce about their past, claiming it was much better in their day? As it turns out, it is a very human thing to do – our brains tend to embellish the good memories. The times haven’t changed, only our perception of them.
Take your past with a grain of salt, and at the same time remember to take some pressure off the time we live in.
9. “The time for action is now. It’s never too late to do something.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
It’s a very common saying that there are no age limits to anything in life. Morgan Freeman landed his first big role at 52, and Winston Churchill became Prime Minister at 66!
Let go of any fears or embarrassment that you are too young or too old to take up a career endeavor. The only mistake you can make is waiting so long, you give up in the end.
10. “Time will not slow down when something unpleasant lies ahead”. – Harry Potter
This was a thought from a fictional character, but an important one nonetheless. As he was about to leave his newfound family to rejoin the one that didn’t want him, Harry wanted to make the last good moments last as long as possible. With this thought, J.K. Rowling pointed out how, no matter how much we wish to stop time when hardship is on the horizon, we can’t go against it.
The biggest favor we can do ourselves is to accept the passage of time, both when good and bad things happen. The sooner we face our troubles, the sooner they’ll be over.
Still unsure why using time wisely is important, and how proper time management ties into it? Check out the answers in our post about the importance of time management
Other quotes about time
Time quotes on waiting for the perfect moment
A lot of us struggle with making the right decision and we tend to wait for a better moment to start something. How many times can we tell ourselves “the time is not right yet” or “I’m not ready yet” before it is too late to grab an opportunity?
Let’s see what some great minds had to say about that “perfect timing”:
1. “Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right.’ Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.” – George Herbert
2. “Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time,’ is to say, ‘I don’t want to.” – Lao Tzu
3. “You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.” – Johnny Cash
4. “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?” – John Wooden
5. “Any action is often better than no action, especially if you have been stuck in an unhappy situation for a long time. If it is a mistake, at least you learn something, in which case it’s no longer a mistake. If you remain stuck, you learn nothing.” – Eckhart Tolle
6. “You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.”– Ralph Waldo Emerson
7. “There are two types of patience. One is exercised in hard work and the other in idleness. Patience with hard work is the one that moves mountains. Patience in idleness moves nothing, not even cobwebs.” — Israelmore Ayivor
8. “Your success will be in direct proportion to how you spend your ‘free’ time.” — Mike Dunlap
9. “You ought to spend a little more time trying to make something of yourself and a little less time trying to impress people” — John Hughes, The Breakfast Club
10. “If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.” — Bruce Lee
11. “You may delay, but time will not.” — Benjamin Franklin
12. “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out 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
13. “You will never find time for anything. If you want time you must make it.” – Charles Buxton
14. “The way we spend our time defines who we are.” — Jonathan Estrin
15. “Remember, today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.”— Dale Carnegie
16. “Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.”— Harvey MacKay
17. “This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it.”— Ralph Waldo Emerson
18. “In truth, people can generally make time for what they choose to do; it is not really the time but the will that is lacking.” — Sir John Lubbock
19. “They were at the wrong place at the wrong time naturally they became heroes” ― George Lucas, Star Wars: A New Hope
20. “Don’t let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use.” ― Earl Nightingale
Quotes on time and work
We worry a lot about time in relation to our work, as well. Sometimes, our work days seem to stretch into eternity, and other times they fly by leaving us with little time to finish up our tasks. The following quotes are meant to give you another view of how you use your time at work – where you may be wasting it, investing it poorly, or how you prioritize tasks.
21. “Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door.” – Coco Chanel
22. “He who every morning plans the transactions of that day and follows that plan carries a thread that will guide him through the labyrinth of the most busy life.” ― Victor Hugo
23. “One must work with time and not against it.“ – Ursula Guin
24. “The shorter way to do many things is to only do one thing at a time.” — Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
25. “You’ve got to know what you want. This is central to acting on your intentions. When you know what you want, you realize that all there is left then is time management. You’ll manage your time to achieve your goals because you clearly know what you’re trying to achieve in your life.” – Patch Adams
26. “People are often so busy living that they never stopped to wonder why.” –Terry Pratchett
27. “It’s not about the paycheck, it’s about respect, it’s about looking in the mirror and knowing that you’ve done something valuable with your day.” – Dave Kovic
28. “Don’t be stomping on ants when you have elephants to feed.” – Peter Turla
29. “Be like a postage stamp — stick to one thing until you get there.” — Josh Billings
30. “The great dividing line between success and failure can be expressed in five words: “I did not have time.” – Franklin Field
31. “A plan is what, a schedule is when. It takes both a plan and a schedule to get things done.” — Peter Turla
32. “Don’t watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going.” — Sam Levenson
33. “When I’m doing a movie, I’m not doing anything else. It’s all about the movie. I don’t have a wife. I don’t have a kid. Nothing can get in my way… I’ve made a choice, so far, to go on this road alone. Because this is my time. This is my time to make movies.” – Quentin Tarantino
34. “Only the guy who isn’t rowing has time to rock the boat.” – Jean-Paul Sartre
35. “A person who has not done one half his day’s work by ten o’clock, runs a chance of leaving the other half undone.” ― Emily Bronte
36. “My goal is no longer to get more done, but rather to have less to do.” — Francine Jay
37. “I never look back, darling. It distracts from the now” ― Edna Mode, The Incredibles
38. “If you trust in yourself… and believe in your dreams… and follow your star… you’ll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren’t so lazy.” – Terry Pratchett
39. “We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there that needs to be done.” – Alan Turing
40. “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln
41. “By faithfully working eight hours a day you may eventually get to be boss and work twelve hours a day.” ― Robert Frost
Quotes on time and life
Achieving a work-life balance in this day and age can be a struggle. Some are not sold on the “grind culture”, and highly value their private time, while others believe that 120 hours a week will allow them to reap rewards later.
So, whenever you start wondering how to achieve this balance, maybe one of these thoughts can be a reminder of how precious this time is.
42. “Have regular hours for work and play; make each day both useful and pleasant, and prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well. Then youth will bring few regrets, and life will become a beautiful success.” – Louisa May Alcott
43. “Life isn’t a matter of milestones, but of moments.” – Rose Kennedy
44. “No such thing as spare time, no such thing as free time, no such thing as downtime. All you got is lifetime. Go.” — Henry Rollins
45. “In life, when presented with any situation, breathe, take your time, focus and then decide what to do.” — Rickson Gracie
46. “I always live in the present. The future I can’t know. The past I no longer have.” — Fernando Pessoa
47. “With technology and over-scheduling, we are forgetting to invest time in simple connective moments with others.” — Michelle Gielan
48. “For disappearing acts, it’s hard to beat what happens to the eight hours supposedly left after eight of sleep and eight of work.” – Doug Larson
49. “In times like these, it helps to recall that there have always been times like these.” – Paul Harvey
50. “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” – Andy Warhol
51. “At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, or a parent.” – Barbara Bush
52. “Don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life.” – Robin S. Sharma
53. “Time sometimes flies like a bird, sometimes crawls like a snail; but a man is happiest when he does not even notice whether it passes swiftly or slowly.” – Ivan Turgenev
54. “Stop and take your time to notice things and make those things you notice matter.” — Cecelia Ahern
55. “One can find time for everything if one is never in a hurry.” — Mikhail Bulgakov
56. “Half our time is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save.” — Will Rogers
57. “People hurry so they can get to places faster, where they’d rather not be, so they can have more time to do things they’d rather not be doing.” – Peter Turla
58. “Free time is a terrible thing to waste. Read a book.” — E.A. Bucchianeri
59. “I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
60. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” – J.R.R. Tolkien
61. “It’s surprising how much free time and productivity you gain when you lose the busyness in your mind.” — Brittany Burgunder
62. “Time can’t be measured in days the way money is measured in pesos and centavos, because all pesos are equal, while every day, perhaps every hour, is different.” — Jorge Luis Borges
63. “You can have it all. Just not all at once.” – Oprah Winfrey
64. “Free time was the most precious time when you should be doing what you loved, or at least slowing down enough to remember what made your life worthwhile and happy.” — Amy Tan
65. “There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want.” – Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes
66. “You can’t have a better tomorrow if you are thinking about yesterday all the time.” — Charles F. Kettering
67. “There’s only one thing more precious than our time and that’s who we spend it on.” – Leo Christopher
Time management quotes
Time management is an invaluable skill every adult strives to perfect. We want to be better at using the time we are given, but it’s a lifelong learning process. There are no shortcuts, but with a little motivational boost and learning from our mistakes, we can improve quicker. So long as we don’t waste time waiting to start, or fretting over the process.
68. “Time management is an oxymoron. Time is beyond our control, and the clock keeps ticking regardless of how we lead our lives. Priority management is the answer to maximizing the time we have.” – John C. Maxwell
69. “Multitasking is like constantly pulling up a plant. This kind of constant shifting of your attention means that new ideas and concepts have no chance to take root and flourish.” — Barbara Oakley
70. “Don’t make the same decision twice. Spend time and thought to make a solid decision the first time so that you don’t revisit the issue unnecessarily.” — Bill Gates
71. “Once you have mastered time, you will understand how true it is that most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year – and underestimate what they can achieve in a decade!” — Anthony Robbins
72. “Rearranging your day around when you have the most energy is one simple way to work smarter instead of just harder.” — Chris Bailey
73. “There is never enough time to do everything, but there is always enough time to do the most important thing.” — Brian Tracy
74. “What comes first, the compass or the clock? Before one can truly manage time (the clock), it is important to know where you are going, what your priorities and goals are, in which direction you are headed (the compass).” — Unknown
Quotes on multitasking
Only in recent years did we begin to abandon multitasking as a skill that provides positive results for one’s workflow. While we can undeniably divide our attention between several tasks, the truth remains they will more than likely both be done well enough. But to really achieve great results means to concentrate on a single task at a time, and the following quotes only confirm this.
75. “Multitasking is overrated – I’d rather do one thing well than many things badly. Quality supersedes quantity every time.” — Stewart Stafford
76. “Be like a postage stamp — stick to one thing until you get there.” — Josh Billings
77. “The irony of multitasking is that it’s exhausting: when you’re doing two or three things simultaneously, you use more energy than the sum of energy required to do each task independently. You’re also cheating yourself because you’re not doing anything excellently.” — Twyla Tharp
78. “To do two things at once is to do neither.” — Publius Syrus
79. “Multitasking is like constantly pulling up a plant. This kind of constant shifting of your attention means that new ideas and concepts have no chance to take root and flourish.” — Barbara Oakley
80. “Multitasking divides your attention and leads to confusion and weakened focus.” — Deepak Chopra
81. “Multi-tasking arises out of distraction itself.” — Marilyn vos Savant
82. “You can do two things at once, but you can’t focus effectively on two things at once.” — Gary Keller
Quotes on prioritizing your time
The core of time management is learning how to prioritize. When you decide what is important to you and your career, suddenly scheduling becomes easier. You know what needs to be set aside, completely forgotten, or pushed to the forefront. And it’s no new science, either. Take a look in the following section.
83. “If you want to make good use of your time, you’ve got to know what’s most important and then give it all you’ve got.” — Lee Iacocca
84. “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
85. “There is never enough time to do everything, but there is always enough time to do the most important thing.” — Brian Tracy
86. “The most important thing in life is knowing the most important things in life.” — David F. Jakielo
87. “We don’t drift in good directions. We discipline and prioritize ourselves there.” — Andy Stanley
88. “Efficiency is doing the thing right. Effectiveness is doing the right thing.” — Peter Drucker
89. “You gotta make it a priority to make your priorities a priority.” — Richie Norton
Quotes on how to use time wisely
Aside from mastering your time management, it’s important to learn how to use time wisely. Making wise moves means understanding which priorities are important, which ones have far-reaching consequences that will improve your life greatly. Here are some quotes that might help you make better choices.
90. “Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” — H. Jackson Brown Junior
91. “It’s important to set your own goals and work hard to achieve them.” — Yuichiro Miura
92. “It is not enough to take steps which may someday lead to a goal; each step must be itself a goal and a step likewise.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
93. “Don’t be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of. One man gets only a week’s value out of a year while another man gets a full year’s value out of a week.” — Charles Richards
94. “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
95. “Ordinary people think merely of spending time. Great people think of using it.” — Anonymous
Quotes on how to schedule your time
The only way to really master our time management is to become really good at scheduling our tasks for the day. Since we are all different, and each one of us will have a different approach, there’s a little nugget of wisdom for everyone in the following section.
96. “Begin with the end in mind.” — Stephen Covey
97. “No matter where I am in the world or what’s on my schedule, I begin each day by reading an inspirational book and then meditating and praying. I adopted this healthy habit many years ago to ensure that my first thoughts of the day were positive.” — Doreen Virtue
98. “A plan is what, a schedule is when. It takes both a plan and a schedule to get things done.” — Peter Turla
99. “No matter where I am in the world or what’s on my schedule, I begin each day by reading an inspirational book and then meditating and praying. I adopted this healthy habit many years ago to ensure that my first thoughts of the day were positive.” — Doreen Virtue
100. “Starting every year, before I booked anything, agreed to any meetings or conferences, we’d sit down with my assistant and we looked at our lives first. We planned that out first, and then what was left would be left for work.” — Michelle Obama
Quotes on taking your time
We’ve had quotes about not waiting forever to make the right move, whether in your career or your life. However, not everything has to be done as soon as possible. Some things just require time. Moreover, being patient is sometimes much better than rushing into an opportunity.
101. “There is more to life than simply increasing its speed.” — Mahatma Gandhi
102. “The important thing is to take your time and not get stressed.” — Diane von Furstenberg
103. “Take your time. There’s no rush to be good or renowned.” — Kathryn Budig
104. “If you’re really looking for something in particular, it helps to take your time.” — Billy Gibbons
105. “When you take the small roads you see the life that goes on there, and this makes your own life larger.” ―Elizabeth Berg
106. “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
107. “Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything.” — Wyatt Earp
108. “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.” — Abraham Lincoln
Quotes about wasting time
When you’re trying to make the most out of your time, the biggest fear is that you’re wasting precious time. But how do you know what counts as wasted time, and how do you stop dwelling on it? Here are a few quotes that could help.
109. “Regret for wasted time is more wasted time.” — Mason Cooley
110. “Time = life; therefore, waste your time and waste your life, or master your time and master your life.” — Alan Lakein
111. “We say we waste time, but that is impossible. We waste ourselves.” — Alice Boch
112. “You must have been warned against letting the golden hours slip by, but some of them are golden only because we let them slip by.” — James Matthew Barrie
113. “Make use of time, let not advantage slip.” — William Shakespeare
114. “Realize that if you have time to whine and complain about something, then you have the time to do something about it.” — Anthony J. D’Angelo
115. “You can’t have a better tomorrow if you are thinking about yesterday all the time.” — Charles F. Kettering
116. “Life is flying by. You don’t have time to waste another minute being negative, offended or bitter. If someone did you wrong, get over it and move forward.” — Joel Osteen
Funny quotes about time
Last, but not least, here are some witty and humorous quotes about time. Not all sayings and thoughts have to be profound, or move you into changing your life from the ground up. Some, like the ones on our next list, are there to entertain. So, enjoy!
117. “Time and tide wait for no man, but time always stands still for a woman of 30.” — Robert Frost
118. “Never waste any time you can spend sleeping.” — Frank H. Knight
119. “Time is a great healer, but a poor beautician.” — Lucille S. Harper
120. “I’m going to stop putting things off, starting tomorrow!” — Sam Levenson
121. “Time is money, especially when you’re talking to a lawyer, or buying a commercial.” — Frank Dane
122. “With enough time, you can get used to almost anything.” — Katherine Applegate
123. “So little time and so little to do.” — Oscar Levant
124. “Time is a great healer, but a poor beautician.” — Lucille S. Harper
125. “The only way of catching a train I have ever discovered is to miss the train before.” — G.K. Chesterton
126. “Free time is death to the anxious, and thank goodness I don’t have any of it right now.” — Jon Stewart
127. “Enjoy life. There’s plenty of time to be dead.” — Hans Christian Andersen
In the end…
No matter how many inspirational time quotes we read, they’re all just clever lines unless we take them to heart. Which is why we hope you found at least one that spoke to you more than others. Having a thought that resonates with you either up on a wall or in your journal can do so much good.