115 Procrastination Quotes to Get You Started

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Do you tend to put things off? These procrastination quotes will have you ready to take action now.

Of course, reading quotes instead of actually getting started on a task is a form of procrastination in itself, but after a few quotes I usually find myself ready to get working.

Here are the best procrastination quotes to get you started, and even a few that will leave you thinking a little delay isn’t always a bad thing.

Top 10 Procrastination Quotes

Action will destroy your procrastination.

Og Mandino

Never put off for tomorrow what you can do today.

Thomas Jefferson
Charles Dickens quote "Procrastination is the thief of time"
“Procrastination is the thief of time.” – Charles Dickens

Time wasted is existence; used is life.

Edward Young

Getting an idea should be like sitting on a pin; it should make you jump up and do something.

E. L. Simpson

The only difference between success and failure is the ability to take action.

Alexander Graham Bell

Begin while others are procrastinating. Work while others are wishing.

William Arthur Ward
Janet Dailey procrastination quote "Someday is not a day of the week"
“Someday is not a day of the week.” – Janet Dailey

Putting off an easy thing makes it hard, and putting off a hard one makes it impossible.

George H. Lorimer

Procrastination is opportunity’s natural assassin.

Victor Kiam

Quotes about Procrastination

Procrastination is the bad habit of putting of until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday.

Napoleon Hill

Don’t put off for tomorrow what you can do today because if you enjoy it today, you can do it again tomorrow.

James A. Michener

Often greater risk is involved in postponement than in making a wrong decision.

Harry A. Hopf

In a moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing to do, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.

Theodore Roosevelt

If you have goals and procrastination you have nothing. If you have goals and you take action, you will have anything you want.

Thomas J. Vilord

The greatest amount of wasted time is time not getting started.

Dawson Trotman
"A year from now you may wish you had started today"
“A year from now you may wish you had started today.” – Karen Lamb

Procrastination may not take up a lot of effort physically but without you knowing it, it takes over the mind.

Stephen Hall

Waiting is a trap. There will always be reasons to wait – The truth is, there are only two things in life, reasons and results, and reasons simply don’t count.

Gene Hayden

Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.

Abraham Lincoln

Anything worth putting off is worth abandoning altogether.

Epictetus

It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.

Lucius Annaeus Seneca

One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon – instead of enjoying the roses blooming outside our windows today.

Dale Carnegie

Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well.

Mark Twain

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

Thomas Sowell

Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.

David Allen
David George quote "There is nothing so fatal to character as half finished tasks"
“There is nothing so fatal to character as half finished tasks.” – David Lloyd George

A perfect method for adding drama to life is to wait until the deadline looms large.

Alyce P. Cornyn-Selby

We shall never have more time. We have, and have always had, all the time there is. No object is served in waiting until next week or even until tomorrow. Keep going day in and day out. Concentrate on something useful. Having decided to achieve a task, achieve it at all costs.

Arnold Bennett

If you believe you can accomplish everything by “cramming” at the eleventh hour, by all means, don’t lift a finger now. But you may think twice about beginning to build your ark once it has already started raining.

Max Brooks

We are so scared of being judged that we look for every excuse to procrastinate.

Erica Jong

Perhaps the most valuable result of an education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not.

Thomas Huxley

How does a project get to be a year behind schedule? One day at a time.

Fred Brooks

Procrastination is the lazy cousin of fear. When we feel anxiety around an activity, we postpone it.

Noelle Hancock

Waiting is a trap. There will always be reasons to wait – The truth is, there are only two things in life, reasons and results, and reasons simply don’t count.

Robert Anthony

Success is not obtained overnight. It comes in installments; you get a little bit today, a little bit tomorrow until the whole package is given out. The day you procrastinate, you lose that day’s success.

Israelmore Ayivor
Benjamin Franklin procrastination quote "You may delay but time will not"
“You may delay, but time will not.” – Benjamin Franklin

A day can really slip by when you’re deliberately avoiding what you’re supposed to do.

Bill Watterson

By what right do I, who have wasted this day, make claims on tomorrow?

Alain Fournier

A primary reason people don’t do new things is because they want to do them perfectly – first time. It’s completely irrational, impractical, not workable – and yet, it’s how most people run their lives. It’s called The Perfection Syndrome.

Peter McWilliams and John-Roger

Nothing is less productive than to make more efficient what should not be done at all.

Peter Drucker

Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in.

Napoleon Bonaparte

You can’t get much done in life if you only work on the days when you feel good.

Jerry West

Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.

Sydney Harris

We all sorely complain of the shortness of time, and yet have much more than we know what to do with. Our lives are either spent in doing nothing at all, or in doing nothing to the purpose, or in doing nothing that we ought to do. We are always complaining that our days are few, and acting as though there would be no end of them.

Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.

Stephen King
Shakespeare quote "In delay there lies no plenty"
“In delay there lies no plenty.” – William Shakespeare

The sluggard does not plow in the autumn; he will seek at harvest and have nothing.

Proverbs 20:4, ESV

Often greater risk is involved in postponement than in making a wrong decision.

Harry A. Hopf

We must be diligent today. To wait until tomorrow is too late. Death comes unexpectedly. How can we bargain with it?

Buddha

Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.

William James

One of the greatest labor-saving inventions of today is tomorrow.

Vincent T. Foss

It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end.

Leonardo da Vinci

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

Zig Ziglar

Procrastination is, hands down, our favorite form of self-sabotage.

Alyce P. Cornyn-Selby

Doing things at the last minute reminds us of the importance of doing things at the first minute.

Matshona Dhliwayo

Procrastination is like going to a fancy restaurant and filling up on bread and not leaving enough room for dinner.

Richie Norton

If you want to get ahead in life, I’ve found that perhaps the most useless word in the world is ‘tomorrow.’

José N. Harris
"What may be done at any time will be done at no time"
“What may be done at any time will be done at no time.” – Scottish Proverb

I remember reading somewhere about an organization called Procrastinators Anonymous. I think they had been in existence for some years but had never gotten around to having a meeting.

Unknown

You can’t just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood. What mood is that? Last-minute panic.

Bill Watterson

If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done.

Rita Mae Brown

One of these days is none of these days.

Unknown

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

How soon ‘not now’ becomes ‘never.’

Martin Luther

Neither a wise nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

It was my fear of failure that first kept me from attempting the master work. Now, I’m beginning what I could have started ten years ago. But I’m happy at least that I didn’t wait twenty years.

Paulo Coelho

If you put off everything till you’re sure of it, you’ll never get anything done.

Norman Vincent Peale
"You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today"
“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” – Abraham Lincoln

Yesterday is a cancelled check. Tomorrow is a promissory note. Today is the only cash you have, so spend it wisely.

Kim Lyons

Procrastination is the fear of success. People procrastinate because they are afraid of the success that they know will result if they move ahead now. Because success is heavy, carries a responsibility with it, it is much easier to procrastinate and live on the ‘someday I’ll’ philosophy.

Denis Waitley

Procrastination is a way for us to be satisfied with second-rate results; we can always tell ourselves we’d have done a better job if only we’d had more time. If you’re good at rationalizing, you can keep yourself feeling rather satisfied this way, but it’s a cheap happy. You’re whittling your expectations of yourself down lower and lower.

Richard O’Conner

He who postpones the hour of living is like the rustic who waits for the river to run out before he crosses.

Horace

Anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn’t the work he is supposed to be doing at that moment

Robert Benchley

We cannot put off living until we’re ready. Life is fired at us point blank.

Jose Ortega Y Gasset

A task left undone remains undone in two places — at the actual location of the task, and inside your head. Incomplete tasks in your head consume the energy of your attention as they gnaw at your conscience.

Brahma Kumaris

Do you know what happens when you give a procrastinator a good idea? Nothing!

Donald Gardner

Following-through is the only thing that separates dreamers from people that accomplish great things.

Gene Hayden
"Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week"
“Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week.” – Spanish Proverb

When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that in itself is a choice.

William James

Whoever observes the wind will not sow; and whoever regards the clouds will not reap.

Ecclesiastes 11:4, NRSV

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

Procrastination is like a credit card: it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill.

Christopher Parker

Overcome Procrastination

If you procrastinate when faced with a big difficult problem… break the problem into parts, and handle one part at a time.

Robert Collier

Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work in hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.

Alexander Graham Bell

Often just by taking action, by doing something about the situation can relieve the stress and help correct the situation.

Catherine Pulsifer

To do anything in this world worth doing, we must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in and scramble through as well as we can.

Sydney Smith

Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand—and melting like a snowflake.

Sir Francis Bacon

He who is begun has half done. Dare to be wise; begin.

Horace
Marie Ray quote "Begin doing what you want to do now"
“Begin doing what you want to do now.” – Marie Beynon Ray

During a very busy life I have often been asked, ‘How did you manage to do it all?’ The answer is very simple. It is because I did everything promptly.

Richard Tangye

Begin to weave and God will give you the thread.

German Proverb

The habit of always putting off an experience until you can afford it, or until the time is right, or until you know how to do it is one of the greatest burglars of joy. Be deliberate, but once you’ve made up your mind – jump in.

Charles R. Swindoll

The really happy people are those who have broken the chains of procrastination, those who find satisfaction in doing the job at hand. They’re full of eagerness, zest, productivity. You can be, too.

Norman Vincent Peale

Don’t wait for someone to take you under their wing. Find a good wing and climb up underneath it.

Frank C. Bucaro

Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.

Napoleon Hill

The two rules of procrastination: 1) Do it today. 2) Tomorrow will be today tomorrow.

Unknown

Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.

Jim Rohn

The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.

Mark Twain

The best way to get something done is to begin.

Unknown
Edward Herbert procrastination quote "The shortest answer is doing"
“The shortest answer is doing.” – Edward Herbert

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

Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows.

Michael Landon

A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.

Gen. George Patton

Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in.

Napoleon Bonaparte

Do the hard jobs first. The easy jobs will take care of themselves.

Dale Carnegie

Follow effective actions with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.

Peter Drucker

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.

Anne Frank

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

The dread of doing a task uses up more time and energy than doing the task itself.

Rita Emmett

Get started. Do something. Sign up for an aerobics class or go for a ride on your bicycle. Movement is the best remedy for procrastinating.

Anthony Herrera
Zig Ziglar procrastination quote "Do it, and then you will feel motivated to do it"
“Do it, and then you will feel motivated to do it.” – Zig Ziglar

You can defeat procrastination all by yourself. You’re the one who started it and it’s also you who can stop it.

Samuel Andreas

One day or day one. You decide.

Unknown

So what do we do? Anything. Something. So long as we just don’t sit there. If we screw it up, start over. Try something else. If we wait until we’ve satisfied all the uncertainties, it may be too late.

Lee Iacocca

In a moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing to do, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.

Teddy Roosevelt

Conclusion

We hope these procrastination quotes remind you that everyone finds it hard to focus sometimes.

But all it takes to turn things around is to get started! As the old saying goes, “the best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago, but the second-best time is NOW.”

It’s never too late to overcome your tendencies to procrastinate and accomplish incredible things in your life.

Updated October 31, 2021.

Photo of author

Quincy Seale

Quincy is KIM's lead editor and content writer, and has invested in online properties since 2009. Quincy holds an MBA from the University of Dundee and an MSc from the University of Edinburgh, and lives in San Antonio with his wife Natalie, son Alex, and his dog Oban.