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Procrastination at Work: Quotes that Rally Action and Make You Smile

written by: Marjory Pilley • edited by: Michele McDonough • updated: 5/13/2011

The best quotes and sayings about procrastination have been brought together and categorized by the underlying problem. Pass one along to inspire action or provide a little laughter.

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    Are you plagued by unexplainable periods of inactivity and looming deadlines? Procrastination is the thief of time. Edward Young If you are reading this article, then you are probably looking for additional tools to curb the effects this behavior can wreak on a project deadline.

    Use these famous or funny quotes on procrastination as light-hearted reminders or daily affirmations. Add one to your email signature line, a bulletin board or your next pep talk. For your convenience, they are categorized by common reasons for procrastinating.

    P.S. Don't miss the quotes attached to the pictures!

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    When you are having trouble getting started...

    Some people procrastinate because they are perfectionists and fear failure. If a project never gets off the ground, then the chance of error or rejection is eliminated and so is the opportunity for success. If your team is fearful of taking the plunge, then consider these famous quotes which inspire the first step.

    Don't wait. The time will never be just right. - Napoleon Hill

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

    Doubt can only be removed by action. - Johan Wolfgang Von Goethe

    An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory. - Friedrich Engels

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    When you need motivation to keep up the daily grind...

    Procrastination Flowchart Many people believe that motivation must precede action. But, just the opposite is true. Once you begin going through the motions or steps of a project plan, motivation builds steam. (Have you ever wanted to skip an exercise routine? After getting dressed and warming up, you are likely to finish the program with energy to spare.) Use one of these gems to rally your team to consistent action:

    Action expresses priorities. - Mahatma Gandhi

    Action is the foundational key to all success. - Pablo Picasso

    Just do it. - Nike

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    When someone needs a personal call to action...

    In spite of actions you take to increase team motivation, a group is only as strong as the sum of its parts. If someone on the team needs a nudge, consider one of these quotes on procrastination:

    Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. - William JamesI am going to stop putting things off starting tomorrow - Sam Levenson. 

    Putting off an easy thing makes it hard. Putting off a hard thing makes it impossible. - George Claude Lorimer

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

    The trouble is that you think you have time. - Jack Kornfield

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    When you need a laugh!

    If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. These sayings point out the humorous side of procrastinating:

    I think I grew a grey watching you procrastinate. - Brandon Boyd

    After all is said and done, more is said than done. - Anonymous

    I like work. It fascinates me. I sit and look at it for hours. - Anonymous

    Procrastination is the greatest labor saving invention of all time. - Anonymous

    I hope you found an inspiration to share...if so, please pass it along. Do you have a favorite of your own? We would love to read it in the comments section below!

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    References and Resources

    Image credit:

    • Hour glass:
    • Flowchart:
    • Cat:

    Reference: Burns, D. D. (1989). The Feeling Good Handbook. New York: Plume.

Procrastination Resources and Strategies

Learn to analyze and address procrastination with this series of articles that provides tips and strategies to avoid it, examples of good delays, the connection to creativity and more.
  1. How to "Procrastination Proof" Your Next Project
  2. When Procrastination is Helpful: A Look at Some Examples
  3. Can Procrastination Help Improve Your Creativity?
  4. Procrastination at Work: Quotes that Rally Action and Make You Smile
  5. Anti-Procrastination Tips for Project Managers