Time is elusive. It can sometimes seem like you are constantly chasing it, but in reality, the day drags on and on without our noticing. Fortunately, wisdom has equipped us with quotes from great thinkers that can help us appreciate how to best spend our days.
This article will collect quotations from thinkers throughout history about time, when it she appears to be an enemy or ally and how to best deal with its unpredictability.
This article is to serve as a resource for students, businesspeople and others who are struggling with time. Those who have never worked for a living, or have worked for only a short time, will benefit from the wisdom and experience of those who have been working long enough to know how to get along well with time.
200 Inspirational Quotes About Time
Time is an enemy. The more you use it as your friend, the more you will be able to accomplish with it.
We are not so much drifting through life as we are passing in review; looking into a mirror with which we can see nothing but ourselves.
All our days truly do count. We live not just for this hour, but for the whole of it; from the moment we are born to the moment when we die. The time of every day is a gift that should be treasured and cultivated; used effectively in service of living well.
Many a man has his life ruined and wasted by his excessive efforts to get rich; as many more by his excesses in doing so. On the contrary, he often stands most firmly on his feet who has learnt to live without money; and having once given up the aim of becoming rich, he takes real delight in the things which will ensure a good life, even in poverty.
I am not interested in how quickly I can keep up with other people’s times. I want to live more slowly than that.
The best way to become a workaholic is to work on the next deadline, instead of working on the one you have just passed.
You are never too old or too young to learn something new. Don’t let your education be limited by the time that you have left. You may not know where you will go tomorrow, but today is your one chance to find out where you’re going today.
I used to take walks. In the evening, after dinner. I put my hands in my pockets and walked up and down the sidewalk in front of our house. It was a long stride, and I had always liked that; there was something even bold about it. But now it didn’t seem right; somehow it seemed hard to walk slowly, when you are young.
Pleasure is not happiness, nor is it vice; it is both a means to happiness and the satisfaction of certain needs, as well as a temptation to vice. Anybody who hopes for uninterrupted happiness throughout life is bound to be disappointed.
Time passes however you spend it. To make your day shorter, spend less time at table each day or drinking with friends or in idleness or vain conversation.
Be careful of the time you waste. Waste your time, and all the days of your life will be spent in waste.
One cannot choose one’s parents; but one can, within limits, choose one’s friends. How much less then can we choose our own lives? Only good and evil are certain; happiness and unhappiness are subject to change. Happiness comes to us when we are living right, as each day passes away it becomes less likely that we shall live right today than yesterday.
The sum of how we spend the moments of our life makes up the sum of our life.
What is time? It is a serpent which eats its own tail.
We lose some waiting in purgatory, but gain a lot by it, by learning to put off what we cannot do today till tomorrow. We waste much time getting ready to live, and never begin. To let opportunities slip makes life hard for all who follow us.
The fatal fault of our time is its excessive speed. We hurry through life in such a way that we miss the things most worth seeing; do them badly; and remember them not at all. But even when we do these things well, seldom enough or at least not for long enough. I don’t want to live too fast or too slow. I want to live right now, in good time, as long as there is anything better left to be done here on earth.
I think the whole process of waking and sleeping is totally unnecessary. Imagine if you didn’t sleep and just lived in a constant state of fatigue, like birds or bats; you wouldn’t be half as good at it. So maybe there’s a purpose in sleep after all. If we were just on an eternal high, we’d hardly need to sleep; so maybe there’s a purpose in that, too.
I’d like to be the air. Without a care or worry. I’d like to be the silence between the notes. I’d like to be a cat, or a cloud in the sky; I wonder what dreams they have? And when they sleep, do they dream of me?
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.
“As we grow older, we should be more concerned about what the world will think of us than of ourselves.” “The effect of praise and blame are very different. Praise gives confidence. Criticism shakes it.”
“We all make choices in our lives and we can all live with the consequences. What isn’t a choice is being unable to control your life in any significant sense. You are completely dependent on the choices made by others. All those who are not in control of their own destinies live life like the turkey waiting for Thanksgiving to come.” “An individual living an isolated life, spending all his energy merely to keep alive, would not be able to conceive anything more beautiful than the sun and moon and stars. But filled with the desire for pleasure and profit, he will be forever busy in the pursuit of them.”
“Things which are done for a reason are not always good. There are those which are good and those which are evil in their effects; but those which merely have no reason, have no fruit. You should choose that which benefits you and avoids what harms you; but do not waste your life on such matters, because they pass away like a shadow.
“When you are an old man, you make plans. When you are a child, you make excuses. I’d rather be a real live boy than a dead old man.”
“When I am quiet and alone with my own thoughts, there is always some truth or philosophy which nudges me to explain them. But when I try to communicate these ideas to other people, either in writing or verbally, then it is as if my fingers were so clumsy that they have never learned the right way to play the lyre. The longer I live, the more patience I sometimes need with myself. I get tired of struggling with words and ideas. Sometimes I think if only for a moment or two I can say something useful without opening my mouth; then I stop myself, partly because the thought is stupid and partly because it makes me feel foolish.”
“The minds of those who want to achieve great things are like the stars – always clear and never still.” “It is better to travel well than to arrive indeed. It is better to be sought after than to find; better to climb well than to be perched.”
“To live is so extraordinary! One wants nothing else but to go on living, and the further one goes, the more difficult it becomes.”
“It is not necessary for a man to have spent a long life in great works – or even at all – in order that his memory should be great. A wise and good man will always leave a fine memory behind him besides whatever else he has done.
“The strength and power of the human spirit is so great, that it has always more to win than to lose. It gains all when things go well with it, and loses all when they don’t. The gods have given us life; we have to give ourselves death.”
“Do not let riches or anything else pass away from you unplanned. Because this is your time, your gift of life from the gods; in no way must you let it pass by you. You have to make the most of it; you must live a life of excellence and achievement, realizing that no one will do it for you, because there is nothing more important than this. You have to understand that in life there are no prizes for second place.”
“When we act like children, we must be treated like children. When we act like adults, we must be treated like adults.”
“A man’s greatest pleasure is to be proved wrong and still be right. A man’s greatest pain is to be proved right and still be wrong.”
“The best thing for a man to do is to keep himself always entrusted as far as he can with the management of his own life, so that he will never have to ask another person for anything; but with some wisdom and discretion he can arrange it all so that each day is spent in the service of one or more worthy goals.” “To live a good life, we must accept a little loneliness now and again. It is too valuable a thing to be wasted on our fellow men.”
“I am full of my own thoughts and I want others to know them. But if I try to put these thoughts into words, they are not right; so I leave them as they are, my mind trying out the ideas, but my lips keeping silent. It is better for me not to speak of what I feel than to have wrong notions of myself or others. But just because I don’t speak, doesn’t mean I remain silent or feel empty; it is just that my words are directed to better things than what most people say. What they think is important often turns out to be no more than an idle word. Men think that things of value can be said in a few words, but really, the most valuable things cannot be said at all. It was Socrates who said that the art of life is to know how to keep a secret and not to tell it.”
“There is a very great difference between living in our own minds, and living by the laws of other people. We are always in danger if we are intimate with our own ideas.”
“We always have an excuse from fear to avoid action. But when we act without fear, as phantoms do, we take many risks.
“The truest words are those that are spoken out of one’s own mouth at the right time, even if they have already been spoken thousands of times before. The greatest deeds have already been done by others. The most important things in life remain to be said.”
“It is better to seem foolish than to be so, because after all, we are intelligent only as long as we keep a grip on ourselves. If we release ourselves from control, we are fools. If we have no control, then we are wise. But in order to be wise, we must have a grasp of reality; otherwise, for us it is like so much running water that is not there.”
“There is nothing more difficult than to live with virtue. Nothing endures but hard work and great intelligence. We must not take anything which is given without gratitude; neither should we deserve any good thing which happens to us: cynicism will destroy both the giver and the gift. Our aim must be that of an athlete who goes in for the contest and works hard to win a crown – not that of a man in love who gives no thought to the favors he receives, and is the first to complain when fortune turns against him.”
“Of all our senses, sight is the quickest, most exact, and most trustworthy. But more than anything else we use it wrongly. It is the first to lead us wrong, and the last to set us right.”
“The worst of all things is what we don’t understand. What we do understand makes no difference in our lives, because it passes before we have time to grasp it.”
Time management quotes about setting priorities
“You must vie with time’s swiftness in the speed of using it, and, as from a torrent that rushes by and will not always flow, you must drink quickly.”Seneca, On the Shortness of Life
“We all know our money isn’t infinite, yet we end up treating our time and energy and attention as if they are.”Shane Parrish
“You get to decide where your time goes. You can either spend it moving forward, or you can spend it putting out fires. You decide. And if you don’t decide, others will decide for you.”Tony Morgan
“Time = life; therefore, waste your time and waste of your life, or master your time and master your life.”Alan Lakein
“Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week.”Anonymous
“Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday and avoiding today.”Wayne Dyer
“You may delay, but time will not.”Benjamin Franklin
“A plan is what, a schedule is when. It takes both a plan and a schedule to get things done.”Peter Turla
“A man who dares to waste one hour of life has not discovered the value of life.”Charles Darwin
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.”Mark Twain
“You can have it all. Just not all at once.”Oprah Winfrey
“The essence of self-discipline is to do the important thing rather than the urgent thing.”Barry Werner
“Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, add what is specifically your own.”Bruce Lee
“It’s surprising how much free time and productivity you gain when you lose the busyness in your mind.”Brittany Burgunder
“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”Albert Einstein
“Realize that now, in this moment of time, you are creating. You are creating your next moment. That is what’s real.”Sara Paddison