46 Procrastination Quotes That You Should Read Now, Not Later


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Laura Berlinsky-Schine
Laura Berlinsky-Schine
July 16, 2024 at 8:47PM UTC
We all procrastinate from time to time. We know it's a bad habit, but sometimes, we just can't help but delay finishing that uncompleted task, however much we know we have to do it at some point. Eventually. That annoying chore, obligation, appointment, or seemingly impossible work task can just wait until tomorrow...or the day after tomorrow...right?
No one is immune to procrastination, even though we know it is a bad habit and a serious waste of time. With so many wonderful distractions out there, it is very easy to put off that important thing you need to accomplish until the very last minute.
But while putting off the tasks you don't want to do may give you momentary satisfaction, the feeling of relief that you aren't spending time working on the thing you dread doing won't last for long. You have to do what you have to do eventually, and it's much better to get it done sooner rather than later. If you get it done now, you won't have to worry about getting it done tomorrow.
Chronic procrastinators probably know that by now. But for whatever reason, many of us just haven't found a way to beat procrastination once and for all. (Maybe we'll just do it the day after tomorrow? After sending a procrastination meme to a friend?)
Even the greatest minds and most important figures across a wide range of disciplines and industries—writers, accomplished business people, innovators, famous actors and singers, historical figures, and other well-known household names—have had trouble overcoming procrastination. Here are 46 motivational quotes and sayings from accomplished individuals who managed to break their habit and overcome procrastination (or found enough personal strength to keep themselves from procrastinating in the first place), along with less inspirational quotes by procrastinators who know the pain delay can cause and offer a little comic relief with their habit.
Maybe you'll find these quotes motivational and helpful enough to break your own habit—and no longer delay the inevitable.
“I don’t wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to work.”—Pearl S. Buck
“Procrastination usually results in sorrowful regret. Today’s duties put off until tomorrow give us a double burden to bear; the best way is to do them in their proper time.”—Ida Scott Taylor
“Yesterday is a cancelled check. Tomorrow is a promissory note. Today is the only cash you have, so spend it wisely.”—Kim Lyons
“Begin doing what you want to do now.”—Marie Beynon Ray
"What may be done at any time will be done at no time."—Scottish Proverb
“A year from now you may wish you had started today.”—Karen Lamb
“To think too long about doing a thing often becomes its undoing.”—Eva Young
“When you are unsure about the road that you are travelling on and the direction that you are moving in, don’t worry. It’s not the loss of direction but the absence of movement that matters. Don’t stop; eventually every road leads to some place. Procrastination and keeping still can never do you any good. So keep moving.”―Latika Teotia
“You must do things you think you cannot do.”—Eleanor Roosevelt
“Begin doing what you want to do now.”—Marie Beynon Ray
“Often just by taking action, by doing something about the situation can relieve the stress and help correct the situation.”—Catherine Pulsifer
“The follies which a man regrets most, in his life, are those which he didn’t commit when he had the opportunity.”—Helen Rowland
“Do not defer it. What is right to be done cannot be done too soon.”―Jane Austen, Emma
"Don't put off until tomorrow what can be done today. Procrastination is a sign of weak character."—Carol Cox
“If we accept and internalize the fact of our own mortality, then, by definition, we have to deal with the essential questions of how we live and spend our allotted time. We have to stop procrastinating, pretending that we have forever to do what we want to do and be what we long to be.”—Surya Das
“He who hesitates is a damned fool.”—Mae West
“I think of myself as something of a connoisseur of procrastination, creative and dogged in my approach to not getting things done.”―Susan Orlean
“If and When were planted, and Nothing grew.”—Proverb
"Procrastination is the foundation of all disasters."—Pandora Poikilos
“As soon as (Teddy Roosevelt) received an assignment for a paper or project, he would set to work, never leaving anything to the last minute. Prepared so far ahead "freed his mind" from worry and facilitated fresh, lucid thought.”―Doris Kearns Goodwin, The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism
“If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done.”—Rita Mae Brown
"My constant battle is putting aside time wasters, and I have to watch out for procrastination. Staying on the path of something you're trying to create has much to do with having confidence in yourself and in your capacity to realize the things you want out of life."—Ruby Dee
“Often just by taking action, by doing something about the situation can relieve the stress and help correct the situation.”—Catherine Pulsifer
“A perfect method for adding drama to life is to wait until the deadline looms large.”—Alyce P. Cornyn-Selby
“It is only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth—and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up—that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had.”—Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
“Procrastinate now, don't put it off.”―Ellen DeGeneres
“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, The Guardian
“Someday is not a day of the week.”―Janet Dailey
"Watching for things to appreciate and expressing that appreciation immediately benefits both our relationships and us. It is taking care of business on a daily basis so that we have a better chance of not having a lot of unfinished business when we least expect it."—Gail Pursell Elliot
“We are so scared of being judged that we look for every excuse to procrastinate.”—Erica Jong, Seducing the Demon: Writing for My Life
“My mother always told me I wouldn't amount to anything because I procrastinate. I said, 'Just wait.'”―Judy Tenuta
"Distractions are a flip side to procrastination. People who have a loss of confidence in themselves use distractions to procrastinate their urgent work to future."—Agatha Fauvel, Letting Go
“The work that you do when procrastinating is probably the work that you should be doing for the rest of your life.”—Jessica Hische
“Procrastination has robbed us of too many opportunities.”—Sarah Ban Breathnach
“The more time you have to do things, the less you are able to get done.”―Joyce Rachelle
“Don’t wait for your 'ship to come in,' and feel angry and cheated when it doesn’t. Get going with something small.”—Irene Kassorla
“The best way to get something done is to begin.”—Author Unknown
"Indefinite visions of ambition are weak against the ease of doing what is habitual or beguilingly agreeable; and we all know the difficulty of carrying out a resolve when we secretly long that it may turn out to be unnecessary. In such states of mind the most incredulous person has a private leaning towards miracle: impossible to conceive how our wish could be fulfilled, still—very wonderful things have happened!”―George Eliot, Middlemarch
“This one makes a net, this one stands and wishes. Would you like to make a bet which one gets the fishes.”—Chinese proverb
"The dread of doing a task uses up more time and energy than doing the task itself."—Rita Emmett
"When there is a hill to climb, don’t think that waiting will make it smaller."—Author Unknown
“We're our own hardest critics and it's easy to let ourselves down. Sleeping too late. Procrastinating.”―Marina Keegan
“If you are always saying I'll do it to tomorrow, than your tomorrow will than turn into another day and so on, and so, etc. etc.”―Victoria Addino
“Slaying the dragon of delay is no sport for the short-winded.”—Sandra Day O’Connor
“There will be many times in your lives—at school, and more particularly when you are a grown up—when people will distract or divert you from what needs to be done. You may even welcome the distraction. But if you use it as an excuse for not doing what you suppose to do, you can blame no one but yourself. If you truly wish to accomplish something, you should allow nothing to stop you, and chances are you'll succeed.”―Julie Andrews Edwards
“You cannot plough a field by turning it over in your mind.”—Author Unknown
Do you feel inspired yet? Are you ready to get out there and tackle the next big project you've been put off again...and again...and again?
As much fun as these quotes on procrastination are, they are not helping you make any headway on a single task on your to-do list. So quit reading these inspirational procrastination quotes, and start doing!
(And if you still need some more motivation to beat procrastination, an anonymous author once said, "The worst form of procrastination is reading a procrastination quote, feeling the guilt and not doing anything about it.")

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