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The best time management quotes of all time

The best time management quotes
Blaz Kos
16 minute read

If you are a time management enthusiast, reading time management quotes can be one of the best ways to motivate yourself to become even better in this regard

And since we at Spica consider ourselves some of the biggest time management enthusiasts, we were glad to have the chance to gather the best time management quotes of all time for you, all in one place.

Out of more than a hundred quotes, we have selected the twelve best ones and explained why they deserve a place on the top, and why we see them as part of the time management philosophy we should all live by. 

At the end of the post, you can find the full list of time management quotes we went through to get to the top twelve.

If you know of any other remarkable time management quote that we forgot to add to the list, please do let us know. And after going through the quotes, don’t forget to read our summaries of the ten best time management books of all time.

The 12 best time management quotes of all time explained

Let’s start with our selection of the top twelve time management quotes, with explanations as to why we find them worth paying attention to:

1. Until you value yourself, you will not value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it. -M. Scott Peck

This first quote deserves the top spot as it states that how we spend our time and how we set priorities reflects our personal values and how much we value ourselves, which is a lesson we could all learn from. A common indicator that we need to value ourselves more is if we say Yes to everything. 

While it can seem like a positive thing, if we don’t pay any attention to how we spend our time and to what we say Yes, this is actually quite negative. So, good time management starts with knowing your self-worth and that time is the most precious resource you’ve got.

2. I must govern the clock, not be governed by it. -Golda Meir-

One of the biggest advancements in managing our time is achieved when we become proactive with how we spend it, meaning we don’t react to every stimulus in our environment. 

For example, you don’t immediately reply to every message in your chat apps, instead you do it later, after you complete the most important task of the day. The idea is that you govern your daily time to the greatest extent possible, never just reacting. You are the one who should be the pilot of your time.

3. Your greatest asset is your earning ability. Your greatest resource is your time. -Brian Tracy

Besides time, your greatest asset is your earning ability. The more competencies you develop, the more you can earn.; and consequently, the more money that you earn and save, the more leverage you have to achieve bigger goals (or to use that money to have more free time). 

Thus, it’s smart to guard your time carefully and at the same time develop your earning potential to the maximum.

4. Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. -Abraham Lincoln

The concept of “sharpening the saw” was popularized by Stephen Covey in his book The 7 Habits of Successful People. Sharpening the saw is about regularly investing in the four basic dimensions of your life, namely: 

  • investing in your body (the physical dimension), 
  • mind (mental dimension), 
  • heart (emotional dimension) and
  •  soul (spiritual dimension). 

Taking care of all four dimensions of your existence is about living a balanced life that brings the best long-term results. Always take enough time to invest in yourself.

5. You can only manage time if you track it right. - Spica’s team

Peter Drucker said you can only manage what you measure. Time is no exception in this. Thus, if you want to become better at time management, the first step is to track your time, analyze how you spend it and then optimize. 

If you diligently track time, you’re also much more aware of how you spend the given hours in a day and set priorities. You can use project time tracking tools such as MyHours to make sure tracking time is intuitive, hassle-free, and actually useful.

6. Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work in and. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus. -Alexander Graham Bell

Doing deep work and being focused on the most important tasks of the day are two of the most popular concepts in time management. 

Avoiding multi-tasking, eliminating all distractions and giving everything to the task at hand is how great things in life are achieved. Focus your efforts and shine at what you are best at in life.

7. Don’t wait. The time will never be just right. -Napoleon Hill

Timing is a really important part of being productive. If we do something at the wrong time, we can be doomed to failure simply because of bad timing. Timing is everything. But on the other hand, it’s almost impossible to hit the perfect timing. 

The timing of your action needs to be just good enough, so make sure waiting for perfect opportunity is not just an excuse for your procrastination.

8. The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine. -Mike Murdock

Great time management is closely connected to managing habits. If you develop the right habits in life, good time management happens by itself. Regularly exercising, starting the day with the hardest task, going to sleep early enough, saying no to things that you don’t like etc. - these are all habits on which good time management is based. 

If you know how to hack your habits, you can also put your time management on autopilot.

9. It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential. -Bruce Lee

We live in times of high market complexity, information overload, numerous distractions, and a surplus of options, including for buying new things. The antidote to all these distractions is minimalism, the concept which encourages us to have only the perfect amount of something. 

This idea usually means a daily decrease in purchases, decisions, tasks etc., which leads to us focusing only on the essentials. It’s hard to be effective if your life is full of clutter.

10. 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

Achieving anything meaningful in life takes years. Overnight success comes after a decade of hard and smart work. We all want to immediately increase our earnings, lose weight, have awesome relationships etc., but all these things rarely happen in a very short time. 

So, never overestimate what you can achieve in a month or even a year, and don’t underestimate what you can achieve in decade. Time and patience are the two most powerful tools at your disposal.

11. You can have it all. Just not all at once. -Oprah Winfrey

A good perspective on time is that it was created so everything doesn’t happen at once. That also means you can have almost everything in life, just not all at the same moment; and of course you can only get what you want based on the presumption that you invest enough effort.

12. Tough times never last, but tough people do. -Robert H. Schuller

Last but not least, sometimes we all find ourselves in tough situations. The wisdom we need when we go through hell is to keep going. In the end, tough times never last, but tough people do. Hard times can often help us to become stronger, learn completely new things, and develop our character in new and interesting directions. 

Sometimes life puts your character to the test, but luckily tough times never last.

Other best time management quotes you should know

And here is the list of all other time management quotes we find the utmost useful and interesting:

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

Time as he grows old teaches many lessons. Aeschylus

Time = life; therefore, waste your time and waste of your life, or master your time and master your life. Alan Lakein

I never think of the future. It comes soon enough. Albert Einstein

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

Don’t count every hour in the day. Make every hour in the day count. Alfred Binet

Your future is created by what you do today, not tomorrow. Anonymous

One thing you can’t recycle is wasted time. Anonymous

Money, I can only gain or lose. But time I can only lose. So, I must spend it carefully. Anonymous

If you have time to whine and complain about something then you have the time to do something about it. Anthony J. D’Angelo

Whether it’s the best of times or the worst of times, it’s the only time we’ve got. Art Buchwald

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

All that really belongs to us is time; even he who has nothing else has that. Baltasar Gracian

The difference between successful people and others is how long they spend time feeling sorry for themselves. Barbara Corcoran

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

Never leave till tomorrow that which you can do today. Benjamin Franklin

You may delay, but time will not. Benjamin Franklin

Lost time is never found again. Benjamin Franklin

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

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

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

Time is the most valuable coin in your life. You and you alone will determine how that coin will be spent. Be careful that you do not let other people spend it for you. Carl Sandburg

The time for action is now. It’s never too late to do something. Carl Sandburg

You will never ‘find’ time for anything. If you want time, you must make it. Charles Buxton

A man who dares to waste one hour of life has not discovered the value of life. Charles Darwin

One cannot manage too many affairs: like pumpkins in the water, one pops up while you try to hold down the other. Chinese Proverb

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

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

He who know most grieves most for wasted time. Dante

Much of the stress that people feel doesn’t come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what they’ve started. David Allen

Time is the school in which we learn, time is the fire in which we burn. Delmore Schwartz

Time is the most precious element of human existence. The successful person knows how to put energy into time and how to draw success from time. Denis Waitley

You’re writing the story of your life one moment at a time. Doc Childre

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

To think too long about doing a thing often becomes its undoing. Eva Young

Time is money. Use it wisely. Folorunsho Alakija

Histories make men wise. Francis Bacon

The great dividing line between success and failure can be expressed in five words: I did not have time. Franklin Field

People who never have any time on their hands are those who do the least. George C. Lichtenberg

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

It's not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about? Henry David Thoreau

You cannot kill time without injuring eternity. Henry David Thoreau

The first hour of the morning is the rudder of the day. Henry Ward Beecher

Those who make the worse use of their time are the first to complain of its shortness. Jean De La Bruyere

Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time. Jim Rohn

One always has time enough, if one will apply it well. Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

He who lets time rule him will live the life of a slave. John Arthorne

Time management is an oxymoron. Time is beyond our control and the clock keeps ticking regardless of how we head our lives. Priority management is the answer to maximizing the time we have. John C. Maxwell

We must use time as a tool, not as a couch. John F. Kennedy

Time is at once the most valuable and the most perishable of all our possessions. John Randolph

Gaining time is gaining everything in love, trade and war. John Shebbeare

A year from now you will wish you had started today. Karen Lamb

Time is a created thing. To say, I don’t have time is to say, I don’t want to. Lao Tzu

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

Time has no meaning in itself unless we choose to give it significance. Leo Buscaglia

The surest way to be late is to have plenty of time. Leo Kennedy

The two most powerful warriors are patience and time. Leo Tolstoy

Time stays long enough for those who use it. Leonardo Da Vinci

Take care of the minutes and the hours will take care of themselves. Lord Chesterfield

Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it. No idleness; no laziness; no procrastination; never put off till tomorrow what you can do today. Lord Chesterfield

I am definitely going to take a course on time management, just as soon as I can work it into my schedule. Louis E. Boone

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. Louisa May Alcott

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

One worthwhile task carried to a successful conclusion is worth half-a-hundred half-finished tasks. Malcolm S. Forbes

It’s how we spend our time here and now, that really matters. If you are fed up with the way you have come to interact with time, change it. Marcia Wieder

Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time. Marthe Troly Curtin

This is the key to time management - to see the value of every moment. Menachem Mendel Schneerson

The bad news is time flies. The good news is you're the pilot. Michael Altshuler

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

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

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

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

Take rest; a field that has rested gives a beautiful crop. Ovid

One realizes the full importance of time only when there is little of it left. Every man’s greatest capital asset is his unexpired years of productive life. P. W. Litchfield

Procrastination is the foundation of all disasters. Pandora Poikilos

Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort. Paul j. Meyer

Time is the wisest counselor of all. Pericles

Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else. Peter F. Drucker

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

The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now. Proverb

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

You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late. Ralph Waldo Emerson

This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Never let yesterday use up today. Richard H. Nelson

Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely. Rodin

Lost wealth may be replaced by industry, lost knowledge by study, lost health by temperance or medicine, but lost time is gone forever. Samuel Smiles

Realize that now, in this moment of time, you are creating. You are creating your next moment. That is what’s real. Sara Paddison

What may be done at any time will be done at no time. Scottish Proverb

It’s not that we have little time, but more that we waste a good deal of it. Seneca

While we are postponing, life speeds by. Seneca

We all know our money isn’t infinite, yet we end up treating our time and energy and attention as if they are. Shane Parrish

The common man is not concerned about the passage of time, the man of talent is driven by it. Shoppenhauer

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

One must learn a different sense of time, one that depends more on small amounts than big ones. Sister Mary Paul

Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent, and not enough time on what is important. Stephen Covey

The key is in not spending time, but in investing it. Stephen Covey

My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time. Steve Jobs

Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend. Theophrastus

We never shall have any more time we have, and we have always had, all the time there is. Thomas A. Bennett

Time is really the only capital that any human being has, and the only thing he can’t afford to lose. Thomas Edison

He lives long that lives well; and time misspent is not lived but lost. Thomas Fuller

Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much can be done if we are always doing. Thomas Jefferson

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

You get to decide where your time goes. You can either spend it moving forward, or you can spend it putting out fires. You decide. And if you don’t decide, others will decide for you. Tony Morgan

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

I don’t think of the past. The only thing that matters is the everlasting present. W. Somerset Maugham

The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything. Warren Buffett

Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday and avoiding today. Wayne Dyer

Time is what we want most, but what we use worst. William Penn

Defer no time, delays have dangerous ends. William Shakespeare

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

We are time’s subjects, and time bids be gone. William Shakespeare

Better three hours too soon, than one minute too late. William Shakespeare

Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning. Winston Churchill

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

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