90 best time management quotes

  • time management quotes

Yes, time flies – that’s probably the only certain thing in the world. Luckily, as Michael Altshuler points out, you are still the master of your time, as you can influence how you spend it – by managing it properly.

Here’s what wise people of the past and present had to say about time management, and what actionable advice you can learn from them.

Time management quotes about free time

Free time always suffers when you have a large workload with a deadline closing in – you work more and unwind less, usually thinking it’s all for the greater good. But, the following quotes show the importance free time has in your life, and highlight why you should never take it lightly.

“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

“It’s surprising how much free time and productivity you gain when you lose the busyness in your mind.” — Brittany Burgunder

“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

“Your success will be in direct proportion to how you spend your ‘free’ time.” — Mike Dunlap

“One can find time for everything if one is never in a hurry.” — Mikhail Bulgakov

“My goal is no longer to get more done, but rather to have less to do.” — Francine Jay

“Free time is a terrible thing to waste. Read a book.” — E.A. Bucchianeri

How to have more free time, according to these quotes?

  • → Don’t go out of your way to be busy all the time
  • → If you stop being in a hurry, you’ll have more free time and enjoy life more
  • → Spend your free time wisely by doing what you love
  • → Don’t waste your free time – reading a good book is always a good choice
  • → Look forward to your entire life as much as you look forward to your free time
  • → Always make time for free time, in order to be happier, and therefore more successful, both in work, and in life

Time management quotes on priorities

Tackling all your tasks at once may make you feel busy and productive – but will also make you lose sight of your priorities. Here’s what wise people had to say about the importance of setting and working on your priorities:

“The most important thing in life is knowing the most important things in life.” — David F. Jakielo

“We don’t drift in good directions. We discipline and prioritize ourselves there.” — Andy Stanley

“There is never enough time to do everything, but there is always enough time to do the most important thing.” — Brian Tracy

“Efficiency is doing the thing right.  Effectiveness is doing the right thing.” — Peter Drucker

“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“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

“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

How to prioritize, according to these quotes?

  • → Everything in your life cannot be a priority – always choose your own priorities, and choose them wisely
  • → Always figure out your priorities before making the first move – when you know your goals and priorities, you’ll know where you’re going
  • → Always find time for priorities – remember to first tackle the important, then everything else
  • → Remember that success comes from choosing the right priorities – it doesn’t happen by accident
  • → Using your time for your priorities, whatever they may be, is always a good use of your time

Quotes on using time wisely

Spending time is fine, but using it wisely is always better – here’s what famous people of the past and present had to say about what it means to use time wisely:

William Penn

“It’s important to set your own goals and work hard to achieve them.” — Yuichiro Miura

“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

“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

“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

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

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

“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

“Ordinary people think merely of spending time. Great people think of using it.” — Anonymous

“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

How to use time wisely, according to these quotes?

  • → Take inspiration from the fact that you have the same time as was given to all the greatest minds in the world
  • → Set your goals
  • → Make each step towards those goals, a goal in itself
  • → Make a good plan – a good plan is the most important step on the road towards your goal
  • → Remember that the days of the year you make good use of are the ones that count
  • → Take your time – sometimes you’ll achieve a lot, by simply giving yourself more time
  • → Remember that it’s not about how you spend your time, but how you use it – we all spend time, but we don’t all use it well


Still unsure why using time wisely is important, and how proper time management ties into it? Check out the answers here:

Quotes on multitasking

Multitasking may seem like a good idea to help boost your productivity – after all, “to multitask” means to work on more than one task at a time, but “working on more than one task at a time” is not the same as “finishing more than one task at a time in a quality way.”

And you can only achieve the latter by working on one task at a time only.

Here’s how successful people around the world view the phenomenon of multitasking:

Chinese proverb multitasking

“Multi-tasking arises out of distraction itself.” — Marilyn vos Savant

“You can do two things at once, but you can’t focus effectively on two things at once.” — Gary Keller

“Multitasking divides your attention and leads to confusion and weakened focus.” — Deepak Chopra

“To do two things at once is to do neither.” — Publius Syrus

“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

“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

“The shorter way to do many things is to only do one thing at a time.” — Mozart

“Be like a postage stamp — stick to one thing until you get there.” — Josh Billings

“Multitasking is overrated – I’d rather do one thing well than many things badly. Quality supersedes quantity every time.” — Stewart Stafford

How to deal with multitasking, according to these quotes?

  • → Understand that your need to multitask comes only from your need to be distracted from your current task
  • → You can work on two tasks at once, but you can’t focus on two tasks at once
  • → When you can’t focus, you can’t perform well
  • → Multitasking only gives out the illusion of achieving a lot, and only exhausts you in the end
  • → Doing one task at a time, before switching your attention to another, is always the most effective

Quotes on scheduling

Once you’ve identified your priorities, your next step should be to plan and schedule them – here’s what wise men and women had to say about scheduling:

Charles Buxton

“You gotta make it a priority to make your priorities a priority.” — Richie Norton

“Begin with the end in mind.” — Stephen Covey

“A plan is what, a schedule is when. It takes both a plan and a schedule to get things done.” — Peter Turla

“Rearranging your day around when you have the most energy is one simple way to work smarter instead of just harder.” — Chris Bailey

“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

“With technology and over-scheduling, we are forgetting to invest time in simple connective moments with others.” — Michelle Gielan

“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

How to schedule, according to these quotes?

  • → Always identify your priorities – and schedule them first
  • → Always work on your priorities first
  • → In order to have time for your priorities, make time for them yourself
  • → Understand when you’re the most productive, and schedule most of your work on those times
  • → Always make room in your schedule for loved ones

Take your time quotes

Rushing through work as quickly as possible sounds logical when you’re trying to do more in less time – but to get the best possible results (and improve your stress management as a result) you have to learn to be patient.

Here’s what wise people of the past and present had to say about why the best things in life take time:

Izey Victoria Odiase

“You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Stop and take your time to notice things and make those things you notice matter.” — Cecelia Ahern

“Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything.” — Wyatt Earp

“When you take the small roads you see the life that goes on there, and this makes your own life larger.”

Elizabeth Berg

“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

“If you’re really looking for something in particular, it helps to take your time.” — Billy Gibbons

“Take your time. There’s no rush to be good or renowned.” — Kathryn Budig

“The important thing is to take your time and not get stressed.” — Diane von Furstenberg

“In life, when presented with any situation, breathe, take your time, focus and then decide what to do.” — Rickson Gracie

“There is more to life than simply increasing its speed. — Mahatma Gandhi

“Half our time is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save. — Will Rogers

Why take your time, according to these quotes?

  • → You notice things that really matter
  • → You experience more
  • → It becomes easier for you to find what you’re looking for
  • → You feel less stressed
  • → Whether or not you take your time usually doesn’t affect whether you succeed – so there’s no rush
  • → If you’re always in a rush, you won’t leave yourself any time for enjoyment
  • → Ask yourself this – do you have something to do with the time you’re trying to save?
  • → Time helps you heal, forget, adapt, learn, improve – but only if you’re patient

Quotes about wasting time

You can a lot with your time – and the worst crime you can do against yourself is to waste time.

Here are the best wise words of wisdom that show how you should stop wasting time:

Paulo Coelho

“You may delay, but time will not, and lost time is never found again.” — Benjamin Franklin

“Time = life; therefore, waste your time and waste your life, or master your time and master your life.” — Alan Lakein

“We say we waste time, but that is impossible. We waste ourselves.” — Alice Boch

“The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” — Benjamin Franklin

“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. — Steve Jobs

Regret for wasted time is more wasted time. — Mason Cooley

“Make use of time, let not advantage slip.” — William Shakespeare

Don’t waste your time in anger, regrets, worries, and grudges. Life is too short to be unhappy. — Roy T. Bennett

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

How to stop wasting time, according to these quotes?

  • → By delaying something you must do, you’ll only lose time
  • → Don’t just do and be what other people want of you – you’ll be living their lives but wasting your own
  • → Anger, regret, and worry are useless emotions that only make you lose time
  • → It’s never about how you spend time, but whether you use it to your advantage or not
  • → Remember that when you’re wasting your time, you’re actually wasting your life – but that different people have different ideas of what counts as wasting time

Inspirational time quotes about focusing on the present

It’s difficult to forget about the past, and stop worrying about the future – here’s what famous people had to say about why the present is the most important time period of all:

Bil Keane quote

“I always live in the present. The future I can’t know. The past I no longer have.” —  Fernando Pessoa

“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

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

“Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door. — Coco Chanel

“The time is always right to do the right thing. — Martin Luther King Jr.

“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

“The way we spend our time defines who we are.” — Jonathan Estrin

“You can’t have a better tomorrow if you are thinking about yesterday all the time.” — Charles F. Kettering

“The time to act will never be right, make your move before you are ready, and everything will fall into place. — ATGW

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

How to focus on the present, according to these quotes?

  • → Remember that the past and future are out of your reach, and that you should only focus on the present
  • → Don’t overthink and procrastinate, because the time will never be ideal
  • → Instead of trying just one solution that clearly doesn’t work, change your approach
  • → Being negative and complaining won’t help you

…And, for last, if you ever feel like you don’t need concrete advice, but a couple of inspiring, funny, and relatable thoughts, here are the best funny time and time management quotes to help motivate you in hard times:

Funny quotes about time and time management

“Enjoy life. There’s plenty of time to be dead. — Hans Christian Andersen

“Time and tide wait for no man, but time always stands still for a woman of 30. — Robert Frost

“Free time is death to the anxious, and thank goodness I don’t have any of it right now.” — Jon Stewart

“Time is money, especially when you’re talking to a lawyer, or buying a commercial. — Frank Dane

“The only way of catching a train I have ever discovered is to miss the train before. — G.K. Chesterton

“Never waste any time you can spend sleeping. — Frank H. Knight

“So little time and so little to do. — Oscar Levant

“Time is a great healer, but a poor beautician. — Lucille S. Harper

“I am definitely going to take a course on time management…just as soon as I can work it into my schedule.” — Louse E. Boone

“I’m going to stop putting things off, starting tomorrow! — Sam Levenson

“With enough time, you can get used to almost anything. — Katherine Applegate

Blake Ross once said: “Time is our most valuable resource” – so we should always be careful about how we spend it.

As these quotes propose, we should cherish our free time, focus on the present and on our priorities, avoid multitasking, create schedules, stop wasting time, but also learn to be patient when needed. Considering that time waits for no one, that’s always the best we can do.


Some of the quoted people (but also many others more) have written great books on productivity – if you’re looking for the next great inspirational read, check out our list of book recommendations here:

Best Books on Productivity

By |2019-07-19T17:29:32+00:00March 8th, 2019|Categories: Fun|

About the Author:

Marija Kojic is a productivity writer who's always researching about various productivity techniques and time management tips in order to find the best ones to write about. She can often be found testing and writing about apps meant to enhance the workflow for freelancers, remote workers, and regular employees. Appeared in G2 Crowd Learning Hub, The Good Men Project, and Pick the Brain, among other places.

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