Time Management Quotes: The Best Quotes from Productivity Gurus, Billionaires & Philosopher Kings

Meet Gregory, a writer and the brains behind Face Dragons. He's the go-to guy for getting things done. Gregory's been living the digital nomad life in Asia for as long as anyone can remember, helping clients smash their goals. He writes on topics like software, personal knowledge management (PKM), and personal development. When he's not writing, you'll catch him at the local MMA gym, nose buried in a book, or just chilling with the family.

This post will give you time management quotes from the people you want to hear. Time management gurus who know what they’re talking about and can teach you better than anyone are a great source of time management wisdom. But those who have put it into practice and built fortunes or empires have great time management quotes too!

Time management is an unavoidable part of life; you can’t decide to opt out of it. Your time is managed one way or the other. If you’re not actively managing your time with the best time management tools, your time is simply being managed poorly. There may be a rebellious contingent that swears time management will destroy spontaneity, but good time management will give you the space to be truly spontaneous.

The quotes found here can be more than just a moment of inspiration for you; they can serve as a jump-off point to better manage the most valuable resource you have, your time.

How to Make the Most of These Quotes

If a quote here really speaks to you, buy the book! A quote may be inspiring; it may even change the way you think about things that day, but it will not have a long-lasting effect. Reading the book will!

Time Management Quotes From The Productivity Masters

David Allen

David Allen wrote Getting Things Done and instantly changed the time management and productivity sphere forever. GTD is the only system to date that can handle all the complexities of life without being overly complex and difficult to use.

What’s the next action is, in Allen’s words the one phrase from the book that will create more positive change than any other. The idea is that a common reason for inaction is that the next action has not been truly defined. Only by defining the next specific action can we begin to do it. Set up your own GTD system in only 30 minutes.

What’s the next action?

David Allen – Author of Getting Things Done

Laura Vanderkam

Laura Vanderkam has written some of the most interesting time management and productivity books of the last decade, often using large data sets to draw her conclusions. In Off the Clock, Vanderkam uses the time diaries of 900 people to show you how to feel less busy while getting more done.

In this quote Laura reminds us of a truth we already know, you can’t improve what you don’t track.

“when it comes to daily life, the time-crunch narrative doesn’t tell the whole story. The problem is not that we’re all overworked or underrested, it’s that most of us have absolutely no idea how we spend our 168 hours.”

Laura Vanderkam – author of 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think

Peter Druker

Peter Drucker was publishing time management books before the genre really even existed. Despite much of his advice being decades old at this point, few have heeded it. Peter reminds us here that much of what we do is unnecessary and can be ignored, are you going to listen to him?

“I have yet to see a knowledge worker, regardless of rank or station, who could not consign something like a quarter of the demands on his time to the wastepaper basket without anybody’s noticing their disappearance.”

Peter Druker – Author of The Essential Drucker

Francesco Cirillo

The Pomodoro Technique became mainstream as many in jobs requiring focused work found themselves underperforming. Splitting your work sessions into more manageable chunks makes sense, especially if you are doing the right things in your Pomodoro breaks.

There are many benefits to the Pomodoro Technique, Cirillo tells us two things here, first that without a timetable our work will take longer than it needs to. And second, that work will bleed over into other areas of our lives if we don’t fence it off with a clear timetable.

A timetable sets a limit, motivating you to complete a task within a set period of time. It also delineates your work time from your free time. Creating a clear timetable will allow you to enjoy your time off without worrying that you could be doing more work.

Author of The Pomodoro Technique

Brain Tracy

Brian Tracy is another titan of the personal development and productivity space, many know him for his idea of Eat that Frog! Which is to do the hardest task of the day first. Here he offers us advice that has been echoed by many: breaking a big task down is the best way to make progress.

“Any goal can be achieved if you break it down into enough small parts.”

Brian Tracy – author of Time Management

Ryder Carroll

The Bullet Journal Method is a fairly recent addition to the time management world but it has arguably made a bigger impact than any other productivity methodology released in the past decade. Everyone from computer programmers to stay-at-home moms has created their own spin on what a bullet journal should be.

Not only a method of journaling what you have done and what you need to do, but the Bullet Journal also forces us to slow down and be more deliberate. Paired with consistency, deliberate action will help you achieve the things that really matter to you. It only takes 5 minutes to set up a Bullet Journal.

“Productivity is in large part a matter of consistency. Once you get it out of your head that you have to work at breakneck speed, you can focus on the process. Short of superhuman willpower, that’s the only way you’ll keep at it.”

Ryder Carroll – Author of The Bullet Journal Method

Quotes on Life vs. Time

Jim Rohn

Jim Rohn is great to listen to and many of his presentations are available on YouTube luckily. He has been a huge influence on the time management world, even influencing others on this list such as Tony Robbins.

This quote by Rohn explains that through personal development and self-improvement, you can make your time twice as valuable.

“A guy said to me one time he says you know if I have some extra time I can make some extra money I said then forget it there isn’t any extra time…you can’t get more time but you can create more value…you get paid for the value not the time now…is it possible to become twice as valuable?”

Jim Rohn – Author of The Power of Ambition

Richard Koch

You really need to read Koch’s book in order to fully understand what this quote is telling us, but essentially by focussing on the right things, we could work less and get more done.

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.

Richard Koch – Author of The 80/20 Principle

Quotes on Life

Atul Gawande

As a world-class surgeon, Atul Gawande brings a whole new perspective to time management. As someone who literally holds people’s lives in his hands, he knows what is important to people when all is said and done.

Focusing on how to have more significant moments in our lives rather than doing more of the same is, for Gawande, the way we ensure we have something to be proud to look back on when we’re going into that surgeon’s theatre.

“In the end, people don’t view their life as merely the average of all its moments—which, after all, is mostly nothing much plus some sleep. For human beings, life is meaningful because it is a story. A story has a sense of a whole, and its arc is determined by the significant moments, the ones where something happens. Measurements of people’s minute-by-minute levels of pleasure and pain miss this fundamental aspect of human existence. A seemingly happy life maybe empty. A seemingly difficult life may be devoted to a great cause. We have purposes larger than ourselves.”

Atul Gawande, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

Chris Bailey

Chris Bailey is the place where productivity and meditation intersect. He’s not only written on every facet of being productive but also on the importance of mindset, particularly with meditation.

Before trying to become more efficient and get more done, you need to know you’re focusing on the right things. We only have so much time and energy.

“When you work consistently long hours, or spend too much time on tasks, that’s usually not a sign that you have too much to do—it’s a sign that you’re not spending your energy and attention wisely.”

Chris Bailey – Author of How to Train Your Mind

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

You have probably heard of the state of flow, the state of hyper-focus where time and space seem to melt away as you become completely in sync with the task at hand. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi was the psychologist that coined the term and if you recognize the value of that state, you’d do well to take on his advice.

Your free time needn’t be vacant of any challenge or use of your skills, in fact, if you want to feel more satisfied you should rethink the way you spend your days off.

“On the job people feel skillful and challenged, and therefore feel more happy, strong, creative, and satisfied. In their free time people feel that there is generally not much to do and their skills are not being used, and therefore they tend to feel more sad, weak, dull, and dissatisfied. Yet they would like to work less and spend more time in leisure.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow: Living at the Peak of Your Abilities

Time Management Quotes From World Leaders

Thomas Jefferson

So much valuable advice in so few words here from Thomas Jefferson. A world where everyone followed these words would be almost unrecognizable.

Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today. Never trouble another for what you can do yourself. Never spend your money before you have it. Never buy what you do not want, because it is cheap;

Thomas Jefferson – Author of The Autobiography of Thomas Jefferson

Marcus Aurelius

It’s very rare that we get to read the words of the ruler of an entire empire, though Julius Caesar’s also left us many interesting books, none seem so personal as Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations. The advice left to us by this stoic emperor is just as applicable now as they were back then.

He could be describing the nonstop news cycle with this quote. It pays to remember that whatever you are focused on right now, and however all-encompassing it may seem, good or bad, it will pass and something else will take its place.

Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away.

Marcus Aurelius – Author of Meditations

Elon Musk

Some say to build a successful business takes talent, skill, and lot’s of luck. But what does it take then to build multiple world-leading companies? In the world of business building is there anyone that does it better than Elon Musk?

This is his single best piece of advice:

I think that’s the single best piece of advice: constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself

On Doing One Thing at a Time

Jordan Peterson

Without Jordan’s encouragement to confront the dragon, get the gold, this site would have never been born. And though there are plenty of JBP quotes I could have used here, one of the things I love about Jordan is his directness. He can elaborate upon a point better than most but when he really wants to get his message across it only takes a few choice words.

Here are some he gave to his undergraduate students once:

Make a damn schedule, and stick to it.

Jordan Peterson – Author of Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life

Warren Buffet

Though not known for his time management or productivity advice, there is obviously much we can learn from the man who is often named the richest human alive. Honing into what is really important and refusing to be distracted, though obvious is something we all could do better. When was the last time you said no?

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”Warren Buffet

Stephen King

It’s all very well having a productive day, scheduling out a week to make progress on your latest project or even setting stretch goals for the next 5 years. But if you want advice to keep you successful and prolific over decades, Stephen King is someone you should study.

The man who writes 2000 words a day, every day tells us here to always finish our projects no matter how bad the work we’re doing may seem.

“…stopping a piece of work just because it’s hard, either emotionally or imaginatively, is a bad idea. Sometimes you have to go on when you don’t feel like it, and sometimes you’re doing good work when it feels like all you’re managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position.”

Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Jeff Sutherland

This quote from Jeff Sutherland is a reminder we all need. Do one thing at a time!

“Doing more than one thing at a time makes you slower and worse at both tasks. Don’t do it. If you think this doesn’t apply to you, you’re wrong—it does.”

Jeff Sutherland – Author of Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time

Motivational Time Management

Craig Jarrow

This should be the battle cry of every person working a job they don’t enjoy.

Your time is limited; so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.

Craig Jarrow – Author of Time Management Ninja

Tony Robbins

I don’t know if Tony Robbins is a Christian or not but this quote from Robbins does sound very familiar to anyone familiar with the Gospel. “Pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”

Regardless of where Robbins came up with this idea, it’s certainly true, it’s the hours an athlete spends practicing that ensures his reward when he competes. This is true for every area of life.

It’s what you practice in private that you will be rewarded for in public.

Tony Robbins – Author of Awaken the Giant Within

Tim Ferris

I still have a graph I made after reading The 4-Hour Workweek years ago, plotting my time worked against my earnings. There are few people who, after reading this book didn’t have an eye-opening moment at least if not a full-on life-changing epiphany.

On days when I struggle to write 1000 words, I remember this quote.

By working only when you are most effective, life is both more productive and more enjoyable. It’s the perfect example of having your cake and eating it, too.

Tim Ferris – Author of The 4-Hour Workweek

Matt D’avella

More a student of productivity than a master, Matt D’avella is a YouTuber who makes compelling videos, some of which detail how he is trying to improve his own time management. he’s on this list because he turns an often touted piece of productivity rightly on its head.

It’s true that everyone has 24 hours but everyone doesn’t have the same 24 hours Bezos doesn’t have to do his laundry

Matt D’avella