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Quotations about Procrastination

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NOTE:  Some of the quotes on this page were submitted to me by visitors, and not all have been verified for original source or wording. I'm working hard to confirm everything, but in the meantime please be aware of the possibility for errors.   —ღ Terri, March 2021

Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. ~William James, letter to Carl Stumpf, 1886 January 1st

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

Our greatest weariness comes from work not done. ~Eric Hoffer, Reflections on the Human Condition, 1973

It is never too late, which is too bad, because it would get an awful lot of people started. ~Robert Brault,

Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday. ~Don Marquis

Things dreaded require double time to accomplish them. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

True it is: all men procrastinate and are sorry for it. I think, however, that even the most active find as much to be sorry for as the laziest; for those who do more also see more that might have been done, and see it more clearly. ~Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742–1799), translated by Norman Alliston, 1908

Folks who tell you, "Putting it off won't make it any easier," presume there's a point where you plan to stop putting it off. ~Robert Brault,

Every duty which is bidden to wait returns with seven fresh duties at its back. ~Charles Kingsley

The sooner I fall behind, the more time I have to catch up. ~Author Unknown

If it weren't for the last minute, I wouldn't get anything done. ~Author Unknown

Anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn't the work he is supposed to be doing at that moment. ~Robert Benchley

There are a million ways to lose a work day, but not even a single way to get one back. ~Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister

It is an undoubted truth, that the less one has to do, the less time one finds to do it in. ~Earl of Chesterfield

I am too much harassed by a variety of correspondence, together with gout and gravel, which induce me to postpone doing what I often fully intend to do, and particularly writing, where the urgent necessity of business does not seem to require its being done immediately, my sitting too much at the desk having already almost killed me... ~Benjamin Franklin, letter to William Carmichael, 1783 December 15th

My dear Sir,—Before you read any more, I wish you would take those tablets out of your drawer, in which you have put a black mark against my name, and erase it neatly.... I have again and again and again said, "I'll write to‑morrow," and here I am to‑day full of penitence—really sorry and ashamed, and with no excuse but my writing-life, which makes me get up and go out, when my morning work is done, and look at pen and ink no more until I begin again.... This is a poor return (I look down and see the end of the paper) for your letter, but in its cordial spirit of reciprocal friendship, it is not so bad a one if you could read it as I do, and it eases my mind and discharges my conscience.... If you can spare me a scrap of your handwriting in token of forgiveness, do; if not, I'll come and beg your pardon [later]. ~Charles Dickens, letter to Edward Tagart, 1847 January 28th

In Putting Off your Tasks and Ruing them
You Waste more Time than you would Spend in Doing them.
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Procrastination," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924

You may delay, but time will not. ~Benjamin Franklin

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

"Do the hardest things first," is the motto hanging above the desk of a very successful business man. This man has told me that that single short sentence has wrought a revolution in his life... Don't fall into the habit of putting off unpleasant duties and evading disagreeable or difficult tasks, until the ghosts of them block your path at every turn. ~Orison Swett Marden, Making Life a Masterpiece, 1916  [a little altered —tg]

Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. ~C. Northcote Parkinson, 1958

The fact was Jonathan really wanted to go, but he didn't want to start. When people really enjoy doing a thing, and mean to do it, and yet won't get going, something has to be done to get them going. ~Elisabeth Woodbridge, "In the Rain," 1911

Procrastination is opportunity's assassin. ~Victor Kiam

If you want to make an easy job seem mighty hard, just keep putting off doing it. ~Olin Miller

A postponed task more toil begets and borrowed money pays no debts. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1903, George Horace Lorimer, editor

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

There's nothing to match curling up with a good book when there's a repair job to be done around the house. ~Joe Ryan

I've been looking over the list of spring chores I made up last fall, and darned if they aren't fall chores, after all. ~Robert Brault,

The best way to get something done is to begin. ~Author Unknown

Uglet, n.  An unpleasant duty. Something one puts off too long. Having to have your teeth filled is an uglet; you wait and wait, trying to find the time, — and the courage. Getting up early in the morning is an uglet, cleaning your top bureau drawer, buying a wedding present, or having your picture taken. Paying the doctor's bill is the universal uglet. But answering letters from people you haven't seen for a long time is worse. ~Gelett Burgess, Burgess Unabridged: A New Dictionary of Words you have always Needed, 1914

      It always does seem to me that I am doing more work than I should do. It is not that I object to the work, mind you; I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours. I love to keep it by me: the idea of getting rid of it nearly breaks my heart.
      You cannot give me too much work; to accumulate work has almost become a passion with me: my study is so full of it now, that there is hardly an inch of room for any more....
      And I am careful of my work, too. Why, some of the work that I have by me now has been in my possession for years and years, and there isn't a finger-mark on it. I take great pride in my work; I take it down now and then and dust it. No man keeps his work in a better state of preservation than I do.
      But, though I crave for work, I still like to be fair. I do not ask for more than my proper share. ~Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog), 1889

You know you are getting old when it takes too much effort to procrastinate. ~Author Unknown

I do my work at the same time each day — the last minute. ~Author Unknown

Eventually, time takes care of everything. The trouble with procrastination is that people give up on it too soon. ~Robert Brault,

You'll wish that you had done some of the hard things when they were easier to do. ~Author unknown

Putting off an easy thing makes it hard, and putting off a hard thing makes it impossible. ~George Lorimer

Procrastination is the thief of time. ~Edward Young

Never put off till tomorrow what you can do to-day. ~Thomas Jefferson, 1825

Do not put off until tomorrow what can be put off till day-after-tomorrow just as well. ~Mark Twain

It is well to put off until tomorrow what you ought not to do at all. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1903, George Horace Lorimer, editor

Let not Today, procrastinating, borrow
One single Precious Hour of Tomorrow.
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Procrastination," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924

Don't fool yourself that important things can be put off till tomorrow; they can be put off forever, or not at all. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960

Procrastination is something best put off until tomorrow. ~Gerald Vaughan

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

One of the greatest labor-saving inventions of today is tomorrow. ~Vincent T. Foss

Tomorrow is the day when idlers work, and fools reform. ~Edward Young

Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week. ~Spanish Proverb

Tomorrow is the only day in the year that appeals to a lazy man. ~Jimmy Lyons

Someday is not a day of the week. ~Author unknown

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

One of these days is none of these days. ~H.G. Bohn

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