Procrastination Quotes: Funny, Inspiring, and Helpful Quotes about Procrastination

In this article, you will find a comprehensive collection of quotes about procrastination. These quotes come from a variety of sources, including everything from ancient Greek philosophers to contemporary authors, psychologists, comedians, and more.

Some of these quotes will make you laugh, some of them will make you think, and some of them, hopefully, will inspire you, and give you the motivation that you need in order to stop procrastinating.

Note that you might not agree with every quote here, and that’s okay. If you find yourself disagreeing with something, take a step back, and make sure that there’s truly nothing useful you feel you can take from it. If that’s the case, simply move on to the next quote, until you find something that resonates with you.

In addition, before we start looking at the quotes, keep in mind that if you want to learn more about procrastination (and especially if you’re procrastinating right now by reading this article, instead of doing work that you should be doing), you should also consider reading the articles which explain why people procrastinate and how to stop procrastinating.


Funny procrastination quotes

The quotes in this section are primarily meant to point out the amusing and humorous aspects of procrastination, generally in a witty or sarcastic manner. Some of them, however, also contain valuable advice or point out important truths about procrastination.


“Procrastination gives you something to look forward to.”

Joan Konner


“The sooner I fall behind, the more time I have to catch up.”

Source unknown


“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”

Attributed to Douglas Adams


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

Robert Benchley


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

Vincent T. Foss


“My mother always told me I wouldn’t amount to anything because I procrastinate. I said, ‘just wait.’”

Judy Tenuta


“Procrastination taught me how to do 30 minutes of work in 8 hours and 8 hours of work in 30 minutes.”

Source unknown


“I think of myself as something of a connoisseur of procrastination, creative and dogged in my approach to not getting things done.”

Susan Orlean


“Nothing makes a person more productive than the last minute.”

Source unknown


“I do my work at the same time each day — the last minute.”

Source unknown


“Procrastination is my sin.
It brings me naught but sorrow.
I know that I should stop it.
In fact, I will — tomorrow!”

Gloria Pitzer


“Work is the greatest thing in the world, so we should always save some of it for tomorrow!”

Don Herold


“Due tomorrow? Do tomorrow.”

Source unknown


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

Rita Mae Brown


 “Tomorrow is the only day in the year that appeals to a lazy man.”

Jimmy Lyons


“Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.”

Source unknown


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

Fred Brooks


“Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week.”

— Source unknown


“I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours.”

Jerome K. Jerome


“Doing, doing
getting done…
Ha, maybe later,
now’s for fun.”

Terri Guillemets


“You know you are getting old when it takes too much effort to procrastinate.”

Source unknown


“Procrastination is something best put off until tomorrow.”

Attributed to Gerald Vaughan


“Procrastinator? No. I save all my homework until the last minute because then I’ll be older, and therefore wiser.”

Source unknown


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

— Donald Gardner


“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


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

Christopher Parker


“I’m going to stop putting things off, starting tomorrow!”

Sam Levenson


“If once a man indulges himself in murder, very soon he comes to think little of robbing; and from robbing he comes next to drinking and Sabbath-breaking, and from that to incivility and procrastination.”

Thomas de Quincey


“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


 “Do nothing by halves which can be done by quarters.”

F. R. Scott


Quotes about the dangers of procrastination

The quotes in this section take an anti-procrastination stance, and illustrate why it’s bad by describing the various issues that it can lead to.


“… a man who procrastinates in his CHOOSING will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance…”

Hunter S. Thompson (in a letter written in 1958)


“He who awaits much can expect little.”

Gabriel Garcia Marquez


“If you want to make an easy job seem mighty hard, just keep putting off doing it.”

Olin Miller


“Do not put your work off till to-morrow and the day after; for a sluggish worker does not fill his barn, nor one who puts off his work: industry makes work go well, but a man who puts off work is always at hand-grips with ruin.”

— Hesiod, in “Works and Days” (circa 700 BCE)


“To think too long about doing a thing often becomes its undoing.”

Eva Young


“Whilst we deliberate how to begin a thing, it grows too late to begin it.”



“If you choose to not deal with an issue, then you give up your right of control over the issue and it will select the path of least resistance.”

Susan Del Gatto


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

Rita Emmett, describing what she refers to as “Emmett’s law”, in “The Procrastinator’s Handbook: Mastering the Art of Doing It Now”


“Much of the stress that people feel doesn’t come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what they started.”

David Allen


“Procrastination is the grave in which opportunity is buried.”

Source unknown


“There is nothing so fatal to character as half finished tasks.”

David Lloyd George


“How soon ‘not now’ becomes ‘never’.”

Martin Luther


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

Alyce P. Cornyn-Selby


“Procrastination is one of the most common and deadliest of diseases and its toll on success and happiness is heavy.”

Attributed to Wayne Gretzky



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

Alyce P. Cornyn-Selby


“… you shall find that delay breeds danger, & that procrastination in perils is but the mother of mishap.”

Robert Greene (in his 1584 work “Gwydonius; The Card of Fancy”)


“We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity. The ‘tide in the affairs of men’ does not remain at the flood; it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is deaf to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residue of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: ‘Too late.’ There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect.”

— Martin Luther King (in a 1967 speech at Riverside Church in New York City)


“Procrastination is opportunity’s natural assassin.”

Source unknown, often attributed to Victor Kiam, who popularized the saying


“Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday and avoiding today.”

Wayne Dyer


“Procrastination has been called a thief—the thief of time. I wish it were no worse than a thief. It is a murderer; and that which it kills is not time merely, but the immortal soul.”

William Nevins (in his 1836 book “Practical Thoughts”)


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

Harry A. Hopf


“In putting off what one has to do, one runs the risk of never being able to do it.”

Charles Baudelaire


“Avoid delays: procrastination always does harm.”

Lucan (Marcus Annaeus Lucanus)


“Procrastination usually results in sorrowful regret. Today’s duties put off tomorrow give us a double burden to bear; the best way is to do them in their proper time.”

Ida Scott Taylor


“In delay there lies no plenty.”

William Shakespeare


“Putting off an easy thing makes it hard. Putting off a hard thing makes it impossible.”

George Claude Lorimer


“…hold every hour in your grasp. Lay hold of to-day’s task, and you will not need to depend so much upon to-morrow’s. While we are postponing, life speeds by.”

— Seneca, in “Letters from a Stoic” (letter 1), published circa 65 CE


“Procrastination is the seed of self-destruction.”

Matthew Burton


“I have spent my days stringing and unstringing my instrument, while the song I came to sing remains unsung.”

Rabindranath Tagore


“Indecisiveness and procrastination are the chosen ways of life for most people. They follow the course of least resistance, which is to do nothing. This provides a security blanket of never being wrong, never making mistakes, never being disappointed and never failing. But they will also never succeed.”

David Peoples


“Lingering labors come to naught.”

Robert Southwell


“Delay always breeds danger; and to protract a great design is often to ruin it.”

Miguel De Cervantes


“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


“Procrastination has robbed us of too many opportunities.”

Sarah Ban Breathnach


“The opportunity often slips away while we deliberate on it.”

Publilius Syrus


“Nothing is so exhausting as indecision, and nothing so futile.”

— Bertrand Russell


“There are a million ways to lose a work day, but not even a single way to get one back.”

Tom DeMarco


“You may delay, but time will not.”

Attributed to Benjamin Franklin (the saying was published in Franklin’s “Poor Richard’s Almanack”)


 “The follies which a man regrets most, in his life, are those which he didn’t commit when he had the opportunity.”

Helen Rowland


“Procrastination is the kidnapper of souls and the recruiting-officer of hell.”

Edward Irving


“Delay is the deadliest form of denial.”

C. Northcote Parkinson


“No task is a long one but the task on which one dare not start. It becomes a nightmare.”

Charles Baudelaire


“Procrastination makes easy things hard, hard things harder.”

— Mason Cooley


Quotes about how to stop procrastinating

The quotes in this section are meant to provide you with helpful advice and tips on how to overcome procrastination.


“Don’t wait for extraordinary circumstance to do good; try to use ordinary situations.”

— Charles Richter


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

William James


“In a moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing to do. The worst thing you can do is nothing.”

Theodore Roosevelt


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

Jerry West


“You probably only have 4 or 5 hours a day of good quality concentration time… what are you doing with those five hours? I find if I work hard for those five hours, when I’m at my top, I can goof off for the rest of the day.”

Piers Steel, in “Piers Steel: Why We Procrastinate and How to Stop”, a Radio New Zealand (RNZ) interview (2019)


“If we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything is ready, we shall never begin.”

Ivan Turgenev


“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.”

—  Source unknown


“Doing just a little bit during the time we have available puts you that much further ahead than if you took no action at all.”

Byron Pulsifer


“When there is a hill to climb, don’t think that waiting will make it smaller.”

Source unknown


“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


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

Attributed to Andrew Jackson


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

George S. Patton


“Never put off for tomorrow what you can do today.”

Source unknown



“Today’s technology can help us not procrastinate if we use it wisely. We don’t have to surf the Web for hours on irrelevant tasks. We can get systems that time us out after 10 minutes. We don’t have to have a Blackberry with us at all times. Use technology as a tool, not as a means of delay.”

Joseph Ferrari, in “Psychology of Procrastination: Why People Put Off Important Tasks Until the Last Minute”, an American Psychological Association (APA) interview (2010)


“A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action makes your dreams come true.”

Greg S. Reid


“If you wait for things to be perfect, you walk away with nothing. Just jump in and get started.”

Attributed to Jennifer Ritchie Payette


“By thinking of procrastination as the result of a human tendency to live too much in the moment, we can devise better strategies for overcoming it. If the problem is weighing present versus future costs and benefits, we need to find a way to either bring future benefits closer to the present or to magnify the costs of delayed action.”

Ray Fisman, in “Like There’s No Tomorrow”, in Slate Magazine (2008)


“’One of these days’ is none of these days.”

Source unknown


“Remember how long you’ve been putting this off, how many extensions the gods gave you, and you didn’t use them. At some point you have to recognize what world it is that you belong to; what power rules it and from what source you spring; that there is a limit to the time assigned you, and if you don’t use it to free yourself it will be gone and will never return.”

— Marcus Aurelius, in “Meditations”, Book II, Passage 4 (written circa 180 CE)


“You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
Martin Luther King Jr.


“We should recognise there’s a closing window of productivity every day and you have to make best use of it because after that, your efforts are going to be feeble and probably guilt-ridden…”

Piers Steel, in “Piers Steel: Why We Procrastinate and How to Stop”, a Radio New Zealand (RNZ) interview (2019)


“Think of many things; do one.”

Portuguese proverb


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

Robert Collier


“…the best possible way to prepare for tomorrow is to concentrate with all your intelligence, all your enthusiasm, on doing today’s work superbly today. That is the only possible way you can prepare for the future.”

Dale Carnegie


“A habit cannot be tossed out the window; it must be coaxed down the stairs a step at a time.”

Mark Twain


 “Too many people spend too much time trying to perfect something before they actually do it. Instead of waiting for perfection, run with what you go, and fix it as you go.”

Paul Arden, in “Whatever You Think, Think the Opposite” (2006)


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

Catherine Pulsifer


“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


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

Frank C. Bucaro


“The most dangerous way we sabotage ourselves is by waiting for the perfect moment to begin. Nothing works perfectly the first time, or the first fifty times. Everything has a learning curve. The beginning is just that—a beginning. Surrender your desire to do it flawlessly on the first try. It’s not possible. Learn to learn. Learn to fail. Learn to learn from failing. And begin today. Begin now. Stop waiting.”

Vironika Tugaleva


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

Alexander Graham Bell


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

Jim Rohn


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

Leonardo da Vinci


Inspiring and motivating procrastination quotes

The quotes in this section are meant to motivate you to take action in the fight against your procrastination.


“My advice is, never do to-morrow what you can to-day. Procrastination is the thief of time. Collar him.”

Charles Dickens (in his 1850 novel “David Copperfield”; this is part of the advice given by the character of Mr. Micawber to the character of David Copperfield)


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

Gene Hayden


“Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows.”

Michael Landon Jr.


“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”

Source unknown


“Believe me, ‘I shall live’ is not the saying of a wise man. Tomorrow’s life is too late: live today.”

Martial (Marcus Valerius Martialis)


 “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. The time will never be just right.”

Napoleon Hill


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

Kim Lyons


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

Gautama Buddha


“Stop talking. Start walking.”

L. M. Heroux


“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Source unknown


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

William Arthur Ward


“The trouble is that you think you have time.”

Jack Kornfield


“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


“No more excuses or procrastination! Stop allowing your days to be stolen by busy nothingness and take calculated steps towards your goals.”

Steve Maraboli


“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”

Source unknown


“Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

James Baldwin


“The time to begin most things is ten years ago.”

Mignon McLaughlin


“The best way to get something done is to begin.”

— Source unknown


“Delaying gratification is a process of scheduling the pain and pleasure of life in such a way as to enhance the pleasure by meeting and experiencing the pain first and getting it over with. It is the only decent way to live.”

M. Scott Peck


“I’d be more frightened by not using whatever abilities I’d been given. I’d be more frightened by procrastination and laziness.”

Denzel Washington


“’Someday’ is not a day of the week.”

Source unknown


“Don’t procrastinate. Putting off an unpleasant task until tomorrow simply gives you more time for your imagination to make a mountain out a possible molehill. More time for anxiety to sap your self-confidence. Do it now, brother, do it now.”

Science Digest


“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


“This is as true in everyday life as it is in battle: we are given one life and the decision is ours whether to wait for circumstances to make up our mind, or whether to act, and in acting, to live.”

General Omar Bradley


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

Michael Landon


“… putting things off is the biggest waste of life: it snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising the future. The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today. You are arranging what lies in Fortune’s control, and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? To what goal are you straining? The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately.”

Seneca, in “On the Shortness of Life” (circa 49 CE)


“A year from now you may wish you had started today.”

Karen Lamb


“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


“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


“There are so many things that we wish we had done yesterday, so few that we feel like doing today.”

Mignon McLaughlin


“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


“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

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

Source unknown


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

Anne Frank


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

Stephen King



“Your competition isn’t other people. Your competition is your procrastination. Your ego. The unhealthy food you’re consuming, the knowledge you neglect. The negative behavior you’re nurturing & your lack of creativity. Compete against that.”

Source unknown (attributed to a 2018 tweet by Jade Jackson)


“If I am not for myself, who is for me? When I am for myself, what am I? If not now, when?”

Rabbi Hillel


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



“The next day is never so good as the day before.”

Publilius Syrus


“Slaying the dragon of delay is no sport for the short-winded.”

— Sandra Day O’Connor


“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


“Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.”

David Allen


“He who puts off nothing till tomorrow has done a great deal.”

Baltasar Gracián


“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.”

Attributed to Francis Bacon


“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


“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


“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.”

Pablo Picasso


“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”

Walt Disney


“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

Source unknown, attributed to a Chinese proverb


Quotes about procrastination itself

The quotes in this section provide insights into the phenomenon of procrastination itself.


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

Napoleon Hill


“The more time you have to do things, the less you are able to get done.”

Joyce Rachelle


“The greatest thief this world has ever produced is procrastination, and he is still at large.”

— Attributed to Josh Billings (the pen name of Henry Wheeler Shaw)


 “There is sometimes only a very fine line between deliberation and procrastination.”

Paul A. Walker


“Nothing so perilous as procrastination.”

John Lyly


“The greatest amount of wasted time is the time not getting started.”

Dawson Trotman


“God has promised forgiveness to your repentance, but He has not promised tomorrow to your procrastination.”

Attributed to St. Augustine of Hippo


“In the conduct of almost every affair slowness and procrastination are hateful.”

Marcus Tullius Cicero


“The production of a creative piece, there’s a lot of thought that has to go into it, and if we try to say that anything but brush to canvas is procrastination, then we’re undermining what it is to be creative. And so I think we have to watch that we don’t call every delay or every sort of inaction, procrastination.”

Timothy Pychyl, in “How to Be a Productive Procrastinator”, a National Public Radio (NPR) interview (2008)


“Perfectionism is the mother of procrastination.”

— Source unknown


“Speech is conveniently located midway between thought and action, where it often substitutes for both.”

John Andrew Holms


“To procrastinate seems inherent in man, for if you do to-day that you may enjoy to-morrow it is but deferring the enjoyment; so that to be idle or industrious, vicious or virtuous, is but with a view of procrastinating the one or the other.”

Benjamin Haydon


“My evil genius Procrastination has whispered me to tarry ’til a more convenient season.”

Mary Todd Lincoln


“We can all remember a time we procrastinated and it paid off, and we hang onto that like gold because we wanna use that to fuel the self-deception that really is at the heart of procrastination. So, yes, procrastination can pay, but it’s usually harmful.”

Timothy Pychyl, in “Why We Procrastinate — And How We Can Stop”, a WBUR interview (2017)


“Sure, gathering resources and information is productive and useful but some people seem to be unable to make decisions – these are the serious procrastinators. They let others decide for them, so there is no blame for failure attributed to them. Procrastination is not waiting and it is more than delaying. It is a decision to not act.  It is very helpful and useful to gather information to make an informed decision, but when one simply continues to gather beyond the point of adequate resources, then they are being indecisive and the waiting is counterproductive.”

Joseph Ferrari, in “Psychology of Procrastination: Why People Put Off Important Tasks Until the Last Minute”, an American Psychological Association (APA) interview (2010)


“Things dreaded require double time to accomplish them.”

James Lendall Basford, in “Sparks from the Philosopher’s Stone” (1882)


“When you procrastinate and do something that makes you feel momentarily good, you get a reward. The problem is you never get to the source of the negative emotions that cause you to avoid the task in the first place.”

Fuschia Sirois, in “How To Stop Procrastinating and the Psychology Behind It”, in Balance (2018)


“What may be done at any time will be done at no time.”

Scottish Proverb


“The essence of procrastination lies in not doing what you think you should be doing, a mental contortion that surely accounts for the great psychic toll the habit takes on people. This is the perplexing thing about procrastination: although it seems to involve avoiding unpleasant tasks, indulging in it generally doesn’t make people happy.”

— James Surowiecki, in “Later: What does procrastination tell us about ourselves?”, in The New Yorker (2010)


“It’s the job that’s never started that takes longest to finish.”

J. R. R. Tolkien


Quotes about procrastinators

The quotes in this section provide various insights into the people who procrastinate.


“Those who make the worst use of their time are the first to complain of its brevity.”

Jean de La Bruyère


“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


“The fact that I procrastinate and still get the job done is the reason I still procrastinate.”

Source unknown (popularized in a 2018 tweet by Anthony Akro)


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

Erica Jong


“For true procrastinators, nothing gets done without a deadline. As we say in journalism: The deadline is your friend. And when that deadline looms too near to procrastinate any longer, you need to take care of business. Crank it out, baby.”

Seth Stevenson, in “Letter to a Young Procrastinator”, in Slate Magazine (2008)


“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’Connor


“My own behavior baffles me. For I find myself doing what I really loathe to do, but not doing what I really want to do.”

—  Saint Paul (Romans 7:15)


“Life, as it is called, is for most of us one long postponement.”

Henry Miller


“Every seasoned procrastinator loves to tell himself that, amid his flurry of avoidance strategies—rearranging the furniture in his office, pitching himself into a YouTube rabbit hole, surrendering to a fit of self-Googling—his brain is secretly marinating ideas and hatching plans.”

Jessica Winter, in “It’s All in My Head”, in Slate Magazine (2008)


“We’re our own hardest critics and it’s easy to let ourselves down. Sleeping too late. Procrastinating.”

Marina Keegan


“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 responsibility with it, it is much easier to procrastinate and live on the ‘someday I’ll’ philosophy.”

Denis Waitley


“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.”



“Procrastinators are tremendously great excuse makers. They always have a reason. They never take the responsibility on themselves. It’s why working on time management doesn’t provide relief for procrastinators. They will have their ready excuse. It’s never their fault.”

Joseph Ferrari, in “Research: The More ‘Stuff’ You Have, the More Likely You Are to Be a Procrastinator”, a DePaul University Press Release (2018)


“He who postpones the time for right-living resembles the rustic who’s waiting until the river’s passed by: yet it glides on, and will roll on, gliding forever.”

Horace, in “The Epistles”, Book I, Epistle II (circa 20 BCE)


Quotes about the benefits of procrastination

The quotes in this section view procrastination in a relatively positive light, and often suggest that it may have some benefits or advantages, sometimes in a humorous manner.


“Procrastination is the soul rebelling against entrapment.”

Nassim N. Taleb, in “The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms” (2010)


“Procrastination. Because every problem deserves a chance to solve itself.”

Neil Thomas Stacey


“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


“We’re doing all these things so we can squeeze things together so we can save time, and I don’t know about you, but I don’t have anymore time, I have less time. But let’s just say we could save up a whole chunk of time and set it aside, you know what we’d do with it? Nothing. Nothing at all. Isn’t that the point, to be able to do nothing at all? We’re not guaranteed that later-on chunk of time, all we have is here and now, and that’s why procrastination feels so right. Procrastination is not the problem, it is the solution. It is the universe’s way of saying, ‘Stop, slow down. You move too fast’… Procrastinate now, don’t put it off.”

Ellen DeGeneres, in “Here and Now” (2003 TV special)


“If you wait until the last minute, it only takes a minute to do.”

The Stock-Sanford corollary to Parkinson’s law


Quotes about related concepts

The quotes in this section are about various concepts that are closely related to procrastination.


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

William James


“Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”

C. Northcote Parkinson


“Time wasted is existence; used is life.”

Attributed to Edward Young


“If a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth doing late.”

Frederick Oliver


“If I had to sum up in a word what makes a good manager, I’d say decisiveness. You can use the fanciest computers to gather the numbers, but in the end you have to set a timetable and act.”

Lee Iacocca


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

Dale Carnegie


 “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


“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


“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


“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”

Marthe Troly-Curtin, in the novel “Phrynette Married” (1912). Often attributed erroneously to others, and especially to Bertrand Russell. 


“It is an undoubted truth, that the less one has to do, the less time one finds to do it in.”

Earl of Chesterfield


“Space we can recover, time never.”

Napoleon Bonaparte


“He who hesitates is last.”

Mae West


“Nothing in the world can take the place of perseverance. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost legendary. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Perseverance and determination alone are omnipotent.”

Calvin Coolidge


“… a man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.”

Charles Darwin, in “Life and letters of Charles Darwin”, Volume I, Chapter VI “The Voyage” (1887)


Closing words

“He who begun has half finished. Dare to be wise; begin.”

Horace, in “The Epistles”, Book I, Epistle II (circa 20 BCE)

As you can see from reading all of these quotes, procrastination is nothing new, and many smart and talented people have been struggling with it for a long, long time.

This means that if you have a procrastination problem, there’s no need to struggle with it by yourself and try to reinvent the wheel while looking for a solution. Instead, you should look at what decades of research on the topic have already uncovered, and read the guide on how to stop procrastinating.