Procrastination Quotes We Can All Relate To

Updated October 20, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Sometimes, taking the first step toward achieving a goal or accomplishing a task can feel like the most daunting one, whether it’s a work project, a homework assignment, a household chore, a creative endeavor, or something else. Oftentimes, the root cause of procrastination is simply distractions or a lack of motivation or enthusiasm for the task. Other times, it may be linked to perfectionism, a fear of failure, or even a mental health condition. 

Reading through the following quotes about procrastination may give you a different perspective on this habit if it’s one that affects you. 

Note that while procrastination can be a harmless or even beneficial tendency, it can also have the potential to negatively impact your life and hold you back from achieving your full potential.

In cases like these, it may be worth addressing the issue with the help of a mental health professional—especially if you suspect it may be caused by a mental health condition. Read on for a selection of quotes, plus tips for managing a procrastination habit.

It Can Be Hard To Work Through Complex Emotions Alone

Quotes About Procrastinating Until The Last Minute

Some people find that they work better under pressure. If you can finish your work at the last minute, you might find yourself procrastinating in order to shorten your time frame or to get a boost of motivation or creative energy. If this sounds like you, you might relate to some of these procrastination quotes about waiting until just before the deadline to finish a task:

  • "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
  • "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
  • "I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." –Douglas Adams
  • “I have spent my days stringing and unstringing my instrument, while the song I came to sing remains unsung.” –Rabindranath Tagore
  • "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

Procrastination Quotes About Embracing Procrastination

Procrastination isn’t always a bad thing. If it’s not negatively impacting your life, there may be no cause for concern. The following quotes reflect a humorous approach to embracing this tendency when it’s mild and not causing significant problems in your life:

  • "Never put off till tomorrow what may be done the day after tomorrow just as well." –Mark Twain
  • "Procrastinate now, don't put it off." –Ellen DeGeneres
  • "I never put off till tomorrow what I can do the day after." –Oscar Wilde
  • “Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” –Marthe Troly-Curtin
  • "My mother always told me I wouldn't amount to anything because I procrastinate. I said, 'Just wait'." –Judy Tenuta
  • “Time is an equal opportunity employer. Each human being has exactly the same number of hours and minutes every day. Rich people can't buy more hours. Scientists can't invent new minutes. And you can't save time to spend it on another day. Even so, time is amazingly fair and forgiving. No matter how much time you've wasted in the past, you still have an entire tomorrow.” –Denis Waitley
  • "A good procrastination should feel like you're inserting lots and lots of commas into the sentence of your life." –Ze Frank

Quotes About Regretting Procrastinating

While the tendency to procrastinate may not cause problems in some people’s lives, it may in others. The quotes below relate to regretting the choice to leave a task until the last minute:

  • "A year from now you may wish you had started today." –Karen Lamb
  • “The scholar’s greatest weakness: calling procrastination research.” –Stephen King
  • "A day can slip by when you're deliberately avoiding what you're supposed to do." –Bill Watterson 
  • “You may delay but time will not, and lost time is never found again.” –Benjamin Franklin
  • "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
  • “One of the very worst uses of time is to do something very well that need not to be done at all.” ---Brian Tracy
  • "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 J. Harris

Existential Procrastination Quotes

Procrastination may lead some to existential thoughts about why we're here or how we can live our lives to the fullest, which could spark creativity, innovation, or future motivation to finish a task. If this sounds familiar, consider the following procrastination quotes that explore this potential experience of procrastination:

  • "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
  • “Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.” –Pablo Picasso
  • "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 navigate through as well as we can." –Sydney Smith
  • "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
  • “Never do tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the thief of time.” – Charles Dickens

Quotes About Overcoming Procrastination

Keeping a tendency to procrastinate in check can be difficult, but it may sometimes be necessary. It has the potential to get in the way of achieving our goals, so some might benefit from a bit of inspiration related to overcoming this habit. The following quotes may apply if you’re interested in managing procrastination:

  • "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
  • “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” –Benjamin Franklin
  • "Your life is happening right now. Don't let procrastination take over your life. Be brave and take risks." –Roy T. Bennett
  • "…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
  • "We are so scared of being judged that we look for every excuse to procrastinate." –Erica Jong
  • “You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” –Abraham Lincoln
  • “Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” –H. Jackson Brown Jr.
  • "Procrastination makes easy things hard and hard things harder." –Mason Cooley

It Can Be Hard To Work Through Complex Emotions Alone
Should You Stop Procrastinating?

Unless it's interfering with your education, work, or personal life, there's generally nothing inherently wrong with a bit of procrastinating. In fact, mild levels of procrastination may offer benefits such as allowing your brain time to process an issue, providing space for more creativity and innovation, and helping you focus and complete tasks or goals in a shorter time frame. 

However, if procrastination is causing significant, undesirable impacts on your life, it may be worth taking action in an attempt to manage this habit. For example, you might try:

  • Breaking larger tasks into smaller sub-tasks
  • Setting SMART goals 
  • Using time- or task-management methods
  • Giving yourself permission to make mistakes
  • Practicing healthy habits like eating well and sleeping enough in order to maximize energy and focus
How Therapy Can Help

Chronic procrastination is estimated to affect around 20% of US adults. If you’re one of them, you might benefit from seeking the support of a therapist. They can provide you with a safe space and guidance to investigate where your habit may be coming from, whether it’s perfectionism or a fear of failure, a mental health condition like depression or anxiety, or some form of neurodivergence such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Once identified, they can equip you with skills and strategies for managing this tendency, which may include ways to address symptoms of a mental health disorder if applicable. 

Those who find themselves frequently procrastinating may be more likely to take the first step to sign up for therapy through an online medium, where the enrollment process consists of a quick questionnaire rather than phone calls and in-person visits. Research suggests that in-person and virtual therapy can offer similar benefits in many cases. However, if you’re looking for a method that allows you to get started relatively quickly and easily, you might consider trying an online therapy platform like BetterHelp. After submitting your questionnaire, you can get matched with a licensed therapist in a matter of days who you can meet with via phone, video call, and/or online chat from the comfort of home or anywhere you have an internet connection. Regardless of the format you may choose, therapy is an option for those having difficulties managing their procrastination.

Takeaway

The way people approach tasks and deadlines can vary widely and have mixed results. While procrastination might energize and motivate some, it can cause problems for others. The quotes above may provide food for thought as you examine your relationship to procrastination. If you’re interested in seeking support in managing a habit like this, you might consider connecting with a mental health professional.

Halt procrastination and build motivation

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