Best Inspirational Time Management Quotes to Live By


Written by Katrina Villegas
By Katrina Villegas, Writer

There’s a reason why they keep saying “time is gold”. It’s because it’s just as valuable (even more) and just as scarce.

And given how valuable time is, it wouldn’t make any sense to waste it. You want to manage it effectively by prioritizing your tasks, setting clear goals, and establishing efficient workflows.

It’s all easier said than done though. Getting started on implementing better time management practices and fixing those time-wasting habits can feel daunting at first. But sometimes a bit of motivation is all you need to get things rolling.

In this article, I’ll be sharing some of the best time management quotes of all time. Whether you need a reminder to stay focused or a push to start prioritizing your tasks, these quotes will provide the inspiration you need to get your streamline your schedules, set your priorities, and ultimately, make the most of your time.

A man checking his watch while at work.

Best Time Management Quotes to Live By

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

Abraham Lincoln was a wise man and he very well knew the importance of time management. This famous quote of his applies to a lot of aspects of life but it mainly emphasizes the importance of preparation.

Whether it’s tackling a challenging project, launching a new initiative, or even just managing your daily tasks, taking the time to plan and lay the groundwork can make all the difference in the outcome.

The initial investment in preparation paves the way for smoother execution and a higher chance of achieving the goals you’ve set.

2. If you give yourself 30 days to clean your house, it will take 30 days. If you give yourself 3 hours, it will take 3 hours. – Elon Musk

Elon Musk didn’t become a billionaire if he didn’t know how to manage his time wisely. This quote of his is based on the concept of Parkinson’s law which states that “work expands so as to fill the time which is available for its completion.”

By giving yourself shorter timeframes to accomplish tasks, you challenge yourself to be more focused, productive, and resourceful. This approach not only enhances efficiency but also gives you less chance to procrastinate, allowing you to achieve more in less time. 

It’s important to note though that you also need to give yourself reasonable timeframes. Don’t expect to finish an 8-hour task in 30 minutes, you’ll be setting yourself up for failure. Nobody wants that.

3. The trick with delegating is to make sure you don’t delegate the things you do best, and manage the work effectively. – Asim Qureshi

Being the CEO of a time tracking company, Asim has a lot of great insights into effective time management. This nugget of wisdom is just one of them.

A huge part of time management, especially if you’re running a company, is learning how to delegate tasks properly.

Delegation isn’t just about offloading tasks onto others; it’s about strategically assigning responsibilities to the right people based on their skills, strengths, and availability. This empowers your team members to take ownership of their roles and contribute meaningfully to the company’s success. On top of all that, it also frees up more time for you to focus on strategic planning, innovation, and other high-impact activities that can drive business growth. 

4. 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

Not a lot of people know it, but there is a connection between self-worth and time management. This quote suggests that our perception of ourselves influences how we prioritize and use our time.

If we don’t value ourselves, we won’t prioritize our time effectively. Conversely, when we recognize our self-worth, we understand the importance of our time and use it wisely. 

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

Procrastination is probably one of the biggest adversaries of effective time management. And we’re all guilty of it at some point. But much like this quote suggests, the more you hold off doing things, the more they’re going to add up. Sure you’ll be avoiding Monday’s problems but they’re going to fly back to your face on Tuesday. And Tuesday’s problems will have to wait till Wednesday. And it goes on and on and on. You get the point.

You need to deal with today’s tasks so you can better plan for tomorrow. By addressing your current responsibilities promptly, you not only prevent tasks from accumulating but also create space to focus on future priorities. 

6. 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

Whether it’s a failing business, a troubled relationship, or an unfulfilling career, the message is clear: persistently attempting to fix a fundamentally flawed situation may not be the most effective use of time and energy.

Buffett’s wisdom suggests that instead of investing time and effort into temporary fixes and band-aid solutions, it may be more beneficial to redirect focus towards seeking a more sustainable and promising alternative. 

Being the Oracle of Omaha and all, it’s safe to say that Buffett knows what he’s talking about.

7. 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

You have control over whether you use your time to progress toward your goals or simply react to immediate challenges and crises. By actively deciding where to invest your time, you can steer your life in the direction you want, moving closer to your aspirations with purpose and intentionality.

However, failing to make conscious decisions about how you spend your time leave you vulnerable to the agendas and demands of others, leading to a reactive rather than proactive approach to life.

8. 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

When decisions are continually reopened, it not only disrupts execution but also undermines motivation to decide in the first place. 

It’s not always easy to make the right decision the first time though, especially if you’re presented with an overwhelming amount of information. This is why it’s crucial to streamline your decision-making process. 

This can involve simplifying the information you have to focus only on the essentials. As a Columbia University study highlights, having too much information can lead to decision paralysis, where you become overwhelmed and struggle to make any decision at all. By distilling the information down to what truly matters, you can clarify your choices and ensure you make the right decision the first time around.

9. Wisdom is knowing when to have rest, when to have activity, and how much of each to have. – Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

At its core, this quote emphasizes the importance of balance and discernment when it comes to managing time and life in general. It suggests that true wisdom lies not just in knowing what to do, but also in understanding when to do it and in what measure.

You need to manage your energy and workload effectively. Recognize when you need to take breaks to prevent burnout, and when to dive into tasks with full focus and determination. 

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

Busyness doesn’t always equate to productivity.

To truly maximize productivity, it’s essential to shift focus from mere activity to purposeful action. Instead of being busy for the sake of being busy, take a step back and assess your priorities. Identify the tasks and projects that align with your goals and contribute to your long-term success.

By practicing mindful prioritization, you can ensure that your time and energy are invested in activities that yield the greatest results.

Bonus: 55 Powerful Time Management Quotes You Need to Know About

  • “For the Present is the point at which time touches eternity” – C.S. Lewis
  • “A man who dares to waste one hour of life has not discovered the value of life” – Charles Darwin
  • “One of the very worst uses of time is to do something very well that needs not to be done at all.” – Brian Tracy
  • “Procrastination is the foundation of all disasters.” – Pandora Poikilos
  • “Rearranging your day around when you have the most energy is one simple way to work smarter instead of just harder.” – Chris Bailey

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

  • “Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.” – Peter F. Drucker
  • “There’s only one thing more precious than our time and that’s who we spend it on.” – Leo Christopher
  • “You can have it all. Just not all at once.” – Oprah Winfrey
  • “Half our time is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save.” – Will Rogers
  • “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” – Andy Warhol
  • “The key is in not spending time, but in investing it.” – Stephen R. Covey


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

  • “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
  • “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 Lacocca
  • “To do two things at once is to do neither.” – Publius Syrus
  • “One can find time for everything if one is never in a hurry.” – Mikhail Bulgakov
  • “Productivity is never an accident. It’s always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” – Paul J. Meyer
  • “Efficiency is doing things right, effectiveness is doing the right things.” – Peter Drucker

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

  • “So the pie isn’t perfect? Cut it into wedges. Stay in control, never panic.” – Martha Stewart
  • “You can only do so much. There are five more projects you want to do, but you pick the three that are really going to matter, and you try to do those really well, and you don’t even try to do the others.” – Sheryl Sandberg
  • “If we think long term we can accomplish things that we wouldn’t otherwise accomplish. Time horizons matter. They matter a lot.” – Jeff Bezos
  • “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
  • “The least productive people are usually the ones who are most in favor of holding meetings.” – Thomas Sowell
  • “Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.” – Zig Ziglar
  • “Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday and avoiding today.” – Wayne Dyer

“Time is the most valuable asset you don’t own. You may or may not realize it yet, but how you use or don’t use your time is going to be the best indication of where your future is going to take you .” — Mark Cuban

  • “Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning.” – Winston Churchill
  • “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 best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.” – Proverb
  • “One can find time for everything if one is never in a hurry.” – Mikhail Bulgakov
  • “The essence of self-discipline is to do the important thing rather than the urgent thing.” – Barry Werner
  • “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” – Stephen King
  • “When everything is a priority, nothing is a priority.” – Simon Fulleringer
  • “The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” – Bertrand Russell
  • “Take rest. A field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.” – Ovid

"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

  • “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
  • “One worthwhile task carried to a successful conclusion is worth half-a-hundred half-finished tasks.” – Malcolm S. Forbes
  • “We must use time as a tool, not as a couch.” – John F. Kennedy
  • “Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time” – Jim Rohn
  • “Take care of the minutes and the hours will take care of themselves” – Lord Chesterfield
  • “The great dividing line between success and failure can be expressed in five words: ‘I did not have time.’” – Franklin Field
  • “The common man is not concerned about the passage of time, the man of talent is driven by it.” – Shoppenhauer
  • “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 best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.” – Abraham Lincoln

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

  • “You can do two things at once, but you can’t focus effectively on two things at once.” – Gary Keller
  • “Your greatest asset is your earning ability. Your greatest resource is your time.” -Brian Tracy
  • “The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” – Micheal Altshuler
  • “The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.” -Mike Murdock
  • “Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.” -Napoleon Hill
  • “It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.” -Bruce Lee

Final Thoughts

Without effective time management, we risk squandering our most valuable resources and falling short of our goals. Whether in business, education, or personal endeavors, those who can manage time wisely gain a competitive edge.

So, the next time you feel overwhelmed or stressed by tight deadlines, take a moment to reflect on these timeless words of wisdom. With the right mindset and strategies in place, you can reach your goals on time, without sacrificing quality of work-life balance.

Need more strategies for managing your time effectively? Check out our guide on the 6 ways you can be more efficient at work. Cheers!