Best Motivational Quotes About Time for Improving Your Time Management

by Manas Chowdhury
11 minutes read

Like everyone else, you have only 24 hours in a day. Somehow, some people manage to make more out of that time than others. It’s all about time management – planning, prioritizing, and spending the time you have available. The following time quotes from history’s most productive people will inspire you to make the most of your 24 hours.

“Time is money” by Benjamin Franklin and “Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend” by Theophrastus are the most popular.

Well, we all know that time is the most valuable resource in today’s world. Or, do we? If we did, why do we spend so much time unnecessarily on social media?

Hmm! Something to ponder…

In 2020, several researchers concluded that an average user, one who is not even addicted to social media, spends roughly 2 and a half hours every day on social media. Then again, a little more than 50% of the total time spent on mobile phones is actually occupied by social media platforms. The popular video streaming channel, YouTube, takes about 40 minutes of an average user’s time each day, while SnapChat takes about 30 minutes.

Now, you may argue that these statistics of 2020 are not normal, as the people may have been on social media for such a long time due to the global lockdown. Well, you are partially correct. But according to a report by Statista, each user spent about 145 minutes daily on social media in 2019, and 142 minutes in 2018. Not too different from the statistics of 2020, right?

Leave social media. Let’s talk about the time we spent window-shopping online. According to a report by CNBC, the cart abandonment rate in the early days of the pandemic rose to 94.4% from 85.1% last year. It means that people were browsing and spending their valuable time choosing products that they didn’t buy in the end. Wasn’t that a waste of time?

Unfortunately, yes! And that’s exactly what we are talking about here – Time is important, we all know, but we do not know how important it is important as a resource.

The following quotes about time will help you understand its value and utilize it more effectively and wisely for better time management.

General thoughts on time

Different categories of time sayings are available on the internet. While some are focused on time management, some others are sarcastic quotes about life and time and the relationship between the two. In this post, we are going to ponder all of those, one by one, and learn their meanings.

So, let’s start!

“The past cannot be cured”

Queen Elizabeth I

Can you even guess who said this and where? Well, it was none other than Queen Elizabeth I, who said this in a speech given at a Parliament session. She has said a lot of things in her life that are used as individual quotes these days. Her words of wisdom are quite famous, not to mention, inspiring. Basically, this time quote means that if you have done something bad in the past, it cannot be changed. The memories of that mistake will haunt you forever, like a disease. So, you better do things after a lot of thinking.

“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.”

Carl Sandburg

Carl Sandburg, an American poet, philosopher, journalist, and editor, said this to help everyone value their time the most in life. He meant that it is a resource that only you can get to spend. If you let others dominate your time, it is like letting people put their hands into your wallet and use your money for their needs and pleasure. Do you want to give them that? Of course, you don’t. Then why not use your time more wisely?

“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.”

Leo Tolstoy

One of the greatest classicists of all time, Leo Tolstoy was a renowned author, who was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature for four years straight (1902-1906), and thrice for the Nobel Peace Prize. His use of wit and sarcasm in his stories was quite a new thing at that time, and he earned both criticism and appreciation for the same.

Coming to the quote, Tolstoy wanted to say that patience can help you win over your bad times by building confidence in your mind. Time has the ability to change things for you, but patience can help you win over the worst of times with confidence.

“Don’t waste your time in anger, regrets, worries, and grudges. Life is too short to be unhappy.”

Roy T Bennett

The Author of ‘The Light In The Heart’, Roy T Bennett is a motivational speaker as well. His quotes have inspired a lot of people to find their direction in life. He aims to help people realize their true strengths to achieve their respective goals in life.

The meaning of this quote is loud and clear. If you are held back with anger, regret, jealousy, worries, and other kinds of grudges, you will waste your valuable time on these unnecessary things without using it for your betterment. If we give negativity a chance, it will rule over our minds and get rid of even the smallest speck of positivity that helps us grow. Hence, it is better to let go of the worries and negative emotions like some burden from our shoulders.

“Don’t waste your time with explanations: people only hear what they want to hear.”

Paulo Coelho

One of the most realistic and positive time quotes, Paulo Coelho, the renowned Brazilian author, said it to make sure that you do not have to explain your actions or words to everyone who comes across. It is a waste of time. Everyone in the world will not take the trouble or put the effort to understand you or realize why you did what you did. They will decipher their own meaning from your words and blame you irrespectively. Hence, why waste that time in explaining? Use it for something more meaningful and productive.

Time management quotes

Now, let us focus on what the great minds said on time management. Although the fancy term has been coined much later, time management was always there, on everyone’s mind. From William Shakespeare to Dan Brown, Thomas Edison to Oprah Winfrey, all have had something to say about time management. So, let’s hear them out!

“Better to be three hours too soon than a minute too late”

William Shakespeare

Never be late! You cannot (or should not) ignore the value of time. If you reach somewhere too early and think that you have wasted your time, you cannot imagine the regret you will have if you reach late. Anything may happen over a second. A person may even die, and you may not even get the chance to say goodbye. So, never be late.

“I’m just always looking forward. I spend very little time looking backward.”

Gary Vaynerchuk

What better time slogan than this, right? Well, if you spend most of your time looking at the past, you will never get enough time to better your present and plan your future. The past cannot be changed, or revisited, so why bother wasting your precious time on it?

“If you do not have time for the small things, you won’t have time for the big things.”

Richard Branson

The renowned business magnate, investor, and author tweeted this on July 31, 2013, on his official Twitter handle. What he meant by this was, if you cannot manage time for the smallest ideas, you will never get the time to help those ideas grow into something big and revolutionary.

“The difference between successful people and others is how long they spend time feeling sorry for themselves”

 Barbara Corcoran

Well, this one is similar to what famous entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk meant in his quote above. If you spend most of your time brooding over the mistakes you have done, you will never get enough time to move ahead and forget those. You will keep on feeling sorry for yourselves and end up more frustrated than ever. The only way to be successful is to learn from your mistakes and make sure never to repeat them.

“If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six hours sharpening my ax.”

Abraham Lincoln

Strategies, training, and preparations matter more than action or execution. This is what the former president of the US meant by this quote. If you are taking up a new project, spend maximum time in preparation and planning strategies. The execution will be easier then, and the chances of success will increase as well.

“Take care of the minutes and the hours will take care of themselves.”

Lord Chesterfield

Have you ever woken up late in the morning and found that you have already lost 2-3 important hours of your day? Well, all of us have had this experience some time or the other. What lord Chesterfield meant here is, if we take each moment and use it wisely, the minutes will combine to form hours and hours of hard work that will ultimately lead to success. Do you still want to tap on the ‘Snooze’ button when the alarm strikes? Yes, even those 10 minutes are valuable. Don’t waste them.

“Time is really the only capital that any human being has, and the only thing that he can’t afford to lose.”

Thomas Edison

Well, the meaning is again similar to some of the quotes already mentioned above. Time is indeed the most valuable resource that everyone has but cannot really afford to lose. There is no time bank to store time for future use. You have to use it now and right now. If you are too lazy to use your time wisely, you are going to be the loser in the end.

“I think that the hardest part of aging really is recognizing the time that you wasted and the things that you worried about that really didn’t matter … That’s really the only regret that I have.”

Oprah Winfrey

Do you want to be guilty of wasting time in your 80s? Of course, you don’t want that, right? Well, that’s exactly what Oprah Winfrey meant here. We spend our time on unnecessary things a lot these days, be it unnecessary shopping or unnecessary thoughts. Don’t! Chuck the habit and use your time more productively to enjoy a regret-free life later.

“I must govern the clock, not be governed by it.”

Golda Meir

Yes, seize the moment, grab the time and make the best of it. Do not let the time make you chase it, or try to control your actions. You should be the one to run ahead of time and avoid being its slave. That’s the best way to reach your goals and achieve success in life.

“Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much can be done if we are always doing.”

Thomas Jefferson

It is one of the most inspiring time quotes for those people who are always complaining about the lack of time. They are ready with excuses to explain why they couldn’t finish a task on time, and “There was not enough time” is always the answer. If you sit idle, if you do not make the most of every moment, you will end up like them, craving for time. Otherwise, you will have ample time to complete your work perfectly.

Time as a scale

Next, we are going to read some quotes about time, where time is regarded as either the past, present, or future. Let us take it as a scale and see what the great minds have to say about it.

“Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why we call it the present.”

Bile Keane

You might have seen or read this everywhere, on Instagram, Facebook pages, or on T-shirts. But do you realize the meaning of this quote? Well, it means that you should not waste all your time thinking about the consequences of your actions in the future or your mistakes in the past. Yes, just concentrate on the present, because you are not going to get that again. The past is gone, and the future is yet to come. But the present? It is here, right at this moment.

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”

Albert Einstein

Of course, it is natural that one of the greatest minds and scientists of all time, Mr. Einstein must have had something to say on time. And what he meant is, you should learn from your mistakes in the past (yesterday), live your present (today) to the fullest, and hope for a better future (tomorrow). This quote is similar to the one above, the only difference being the focus that Mr. Einstein puts on all three phases of time. He also stresses the fact that we should never stop questioning our lives, experiences, incidents, and beliefs.

“The past exists only in our memories, the future only in our plans. The present is our only reality.”

Robert M. Pirsig

Another quote about past, present, and the future has the same meaning as the above two. However, the three speakers are different with slightly different perspectives. Here, Pirsig meant that there is no point dwelling over the past, as it can only create memories. He also kind of said that planning for the future too isn’t of much value. But living in the present is what we should all focus on.

But in reality, you cannot change the past, but thinking about the future or planning it is one of the most productive things you can do. That takes us to our next great thought on time by the Indian freedom fighter, Mahatma Gandhi.  

“The future depends on what we do in the present.”

Mahatma Gandhi

Okay, so we should not completely ignore the consequences of our present actions, because those are going to shape our future. Hmm! So, does that mean you cannot enjoy your present to the fullest? No! You can, but you also have to be careful not to commit your mistakes from the past to ensure a better future.

But one of the best quotes about time as a scale came from Thomas Spencer Monson (Thomas S Monson), an American religious leader, also known as a modern-day prophet. He said that,

“The past is behind, learn from it. The future is ahead, prepare for it. The present is here, live it.”

Thomas S Monson

Now, he didn’t give any less importance to any of the three phases of time – the past, present, and the future. He just told us what we should do with them and how to make the most of each.

Time as a resource

Did you watch the 2011 sci-fi movie, ‘In Time’ by Andrew Niccol? It starred Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried as leads and was based on the concept of using time, in place of money, as a resource to live. 

In that movie, people used the time they have left of their lives to eat, drink, travel, pay for house rent, buy groceries, in short, to sustain themselves. Whatever time they spent in a day, the people used to earn it or a fraction of it later. If someone used up all their time, deliberately, or by mistake, s/he would, yes you are right, DIE.

Let’s now discuss a few quotes that share the same theme of time as a resource:

“Time is money.”

Benjamin Franklin

This particular quote by the then successful politician and popular satirist has been referred to a zillion times by several authors, speakers, philosophers, entrepreneurs, and social media influencers. What he meant here is, time is a resource that should not be wasted. If you delay something, you are wasting time and inevitably reducing the potential output of that action or decision. It is an opportunity that you should not miss at any cost.

It also means that all your choices come with some costs, and if you do not make the right one, or delay due to inaction, you can suffer a major loss.

Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.”


The ancient Greek philosopher also had something similar to say. He said that time, and not money, is the most valuable resource in the life of a person. If you spend all your time, you will die. So, you better use it well for as long as you live.

“Time is what we want most but what we use worst”

William Penn

Okay, well, this sounds a little too realistic. We all want more time to complete certain tasks, to enjoy certain moments, or even to sleep a little more. But when it comes to using time, we are not really good at it. For example, if you want more time to sleep, you should go to bed early. But what do you end up with? Ah yes! Tapping on your mobile phone for hours. So, you understand what the author meant here?

“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.”

Albert Einstein

He is back with his wit and how! Talking about famous quotes about time and not mentioning his name is just too unusual. Mr. Einstein has some of the weirdest but strangely realistic quotes about time, like this one above. Just imagine if you get a good job, marry and have children at the same time. Will you be able to enjoy every special occasion?

Or just think if you are a child, a young and an old person at the same time (though it is scientifically impossible), how will you enjoy your entire life? That’s exactly what Mr. Einstein had wanted to say that time is there so that we can take each moment at a time and enjoy it to the fullest.

Positive quotes about time

Although there is nothing positive or negative about time, some of the quotes about life and time can inspire you to do better, move ahead without hesitation and achieve your goals faster. These quotes can be tagged as ‘positive’, as they build confidence and encourage optimism.

Let’s take a look at some of these ‘positive quotes about time’:

“The bad news is time flies. The good news is, you’re the pilot.”

Michael Altshuler

Do you have an explanation for this one? Guess you don’t. Just fly well!

“Time brings all things to pass”


It means that everything is temporary. Whatever you are enjoying or worried about now will ultimately pass, so there’s no point thinking or brooding.

A similar thing has been said by the horror/thriller writer Stephen King,

“Time takes it all, whether you want it to or not.”

Stephen King

Now, this may sound gloomy, but if you look at it positively, you will see that time can also heal every pain and get rid of all negative memories. Although it takes away the feelings of joy too, you can always earn better moments.

“Suspect each moment, for it is a thief, tiptoeing away with more than it brings.”

John Updike

Funny, right? Well, it essentially means that you should not let the time slip out of your hands without taking the best out of it. You should leverage each moment before it passes.

“Time, which changes people, does not alter the image we have of them.”

Marcel Proust

At first, it may seem to you like a de-motivating time quote, but it is not. If you are aware of the realities of some people, and if your memories of experiences with them are unchanged with time, you will never make the same mistake of trusting them or people like them.

There is a saying that says that time is the world’s most valuable currency and can’t be saved. The moment we spend it, it’s gone forever. I hope you enjoy and think deeply about these time quotes.

Can you think of any other time quotes that we can include in this list? If yes, do let us know in the comments section given below.

Have a great time!

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