Quotes on Time Management

With 4 key questions!

Quotes on Time Management

With 4 key questions!

There is no shortage of quotes on time management, but maybe a shortage of time to find them!

Quotes on time managementSo on this page you’ll find we’ve organised quotes on time management to explore four critical questions:

  • Why does time management matter?
  • Why is managing time so stressful?
  • Why are we always short of time?
  • How do you spend your time?

Let the quotations themselves do the “talking”. Think about the significance or implications of each. What do they inspire you to do? How do they make you think or feel, and do they prompt you to act?

Why Does Time Management Matter?

Don’t take our word for it. Here are two quotes on time management, from impeccable sources, explaining why it matters so much:

“Time is the scarcest resource; and unless it is managed, nothing else can be managed.” (Peter F. Drucker)


“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)

Why Is Managing Time So Stressful?

David Allen, author of “Getting things Done”, provides us with some rather different quotes on time management. He challenges the whole notion of whether it’s time that we actually need to manage. Here are two quotes to make his point:

“You need to get into the habit of keeping nothing on your mind. And the way to do that …… is not by managing time, managing information, or managing priorities. After all:

  • You don’t manage five minutes and wind up with six;
  • You don’t manage information overload – otherwise you’d walk into a library and die, or the first time you connect to the web, or even opened a phone book, you’d blow up;
  • You don’t manage priorities, you have them.

Instead, the key to managing all of your “STUFF” IS MANAGING YOUR ACTIONS.

The real issue is how to make appropriate choices about what to do at any point in time. The real issue is how we manage actions.”

“Things rarely get stuck because of lack of time. They get stuck because the doing of them has not been defined.” “Most of the stress people experience comes from inappropriately managed commitments they make or accept.” David Allen

Stephen Covey proposes an interesting way to think of time, in his book: “First Things First”. In this he explains contrasting views of time using the clock and the compass as metaphors.

  • “The clock represents our commitments, appointments, schedules, goals and activities – what we do with and how we manage our time. The compass represents our vision, values, principles, mission, conscience, direction – what we feel is important and how we lead our lives.”
  • “The struggle comes when we sense a gap between the clock and the compass – when what we do doesn’t contribute to what is most important in our lives.” Stephen Covey

For more on this, see our article: What Is Time Management? Taking A Radical View Of Time. Now here’s the last of this section’s quotes on time management, but not from David Allen or Stephen Covey!

  • ”This constant unproductive preoccupation with all the things we have to do is the single largest consumer of time and energy.” Kerry Gleeson
Why Are We Always Short Of Time?

Searching for quotes on time management inevitably leads to the question “Why are we always short of time?” It’s often this question that sends many of us searching in the first place.

  • “Those who make the worst use of their time are the first to complain of its shortness.” Jean de La Bruysre.
  • “Why do people complain that there’s no time to get their work done? Because there is more work to do than the work they think they have to do.” David Allen
  • “It is not that we are short of time….It is the way that we treat time, even the way that we think about it. A time revolution..is the fastest way to make a giant leap in both happiness and effectiveness.” Richard Koch

And what is the time revolution?

  • “There is no shortage of time. In fact, we are positively awash with it. We only make good use of 20 per cent of our time…. The 80/20 principle says that if we doubled our time on the top 20% of activities, we could work a two-day week and achieve 60 per cent more than now.” “It is not shortage of time that should worry us, but the tendency for the majority of time to be spent in low-quality ways.” Richard Koch
  • “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” Douglas Adams
  • “There’s never enough time to do something right first time, but there is always enough time to go back and do it again.” Anon
How Do You Spend Your Time?

  • “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
  • “Time you enjoyed wasting is not wasted time.” T. S. Elliot
  • “There is one thing we can do, and the happiest people are those who can do it to the limit of their ability. We can be completely present. We can be all here. We can … give all our attention to the opportunity before us.” Mark Van Doren
  • “The art of resting the mind and the power of dismissing from it all care and worry is probably one of the secrets of our great men. Captain J.A. Hatfield.

Although the next extract may not technically belong on a page of quotes on time management, it does address the question of how we might spend our time. Quite powerfully, we might add.

“This is the true joy in life….being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one…being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy…I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can.

I want to be thoroughly used up when I die. For the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is not a brief candle to me. It’s a sort of splendid torch which I’ve got to hold up for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.” George Bernard Shaw

So, how do you spend your time? To simply quote the phrase “today well lived” wouldn’t do justice to a refreshing view of time management. “Salutation to the Dawn” contains some thought provoking words:

Look to this day!
For it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course
Lie all the verities and realities of your existence:
The bliss of growth
The glory of action
The splendour of beauty,
For yesterday is but a dream
And tomorrow is only a vision,
But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well, therefore, to this day!
Such is the salutation of the dawn.
(Indian dramatist, Kalidasa)

Don’t Forget…

No collection of quotes on time management would be complete without some words from the giant of management giants:

  • “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”
  • “If you want to improve how you manage time – stop doing what doesn’t need to be done!” Peter Drucker

To end our quotes on time management, one final thought. Does happiness come from managing our time? Perhaps, if we manage to find time to pause and consider:

“What is this life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare?”

(William Henry Davies)

If you’ve enjoyed “Quotes on Time Management” you may also enjoy our other pages of Motivational Quotes.

Tools to reduce time wasters

If you want some practical tips and tools to deal with time wasters, go to our guide Managing Time and Priority. The guide expands on the tips in this article and includes some excellent tools to help you eradicate time wasters. It will help you to:

  • Managing Time and PriorityAssess your time priorities and manage your actions.
  • Develop coping strategies to avoid the limitations of “busyness”.
  • Manage the impact of other people’s demands on your time.
  • Develop approaches to “getting things done”.
  • Apply practical tools to managing priorities and time, to get the right things done.
  • Help others to manage their time.


Tool 1: Commitments summary
Tool 2: Time log
Tool 3:Time analysis
Tool 4: Time planning with task filters
Tool 5: Task priorities

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