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Quotations for Motivation #3 --- Procrastination

Updated on September 27, 2015

Quotations on Procrastination

No man ever succeeded by putting everything off until tomorrow. Putting off finally falls under the law of habit, and you can’t do anything else. Almost anything, is to lose.

---John Elward Brown, El Paso Morning Times, El Paso, Texas, April 27, 1918.

To procrastinate with duty is to mark time with futility.

---Edmund J. Kiefer, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., Aug. 18, 1957.

Procrastination drapes the nudity of denial with worthless words.

---Jesse K. Brennan, St. Louis Republic, St. Louis, Mo., Sept. 25, 1905.

Perhaps is an old guy who runs around with Never.

---Henry Edward Warner, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Richmond, Va., Jan. 1, 1922.

Time flies, and procrastination is the swatter.

---Edward James Stackpole, Harrisburg Telegraph, Harrisburg, Pa., May 1, 1916.

Do today that which you overlook to do yesterday, that which you ought to do today, and that which you may forget to do tomorrow.

---William J. Burtscher, The Bee, Earlington, Ky., Feb. 23, 1905.

The most dangerous nation in which to live is procrastination.

---John Wesley Holland, The Recorder, Catskill, N.Y., May 9, 1930.

Tomorrow cannot do today’s work without neglecting its own.

---James Milton Racer, The Citizen, Berea, Ky., Sept. 10, 1903.

Shiftlessness and procrastination are the direct causes of many of the inconveniences we struggle against.

---T.G. Pasco, The Citizen, Berea, Ky., Jan. 10, 1900.

Some people postpone doing anything about their future until it’s past.

---John Merrill Chilcote, St. Joseph News-Press, St. Joseph, Mo., May 24, 1950.

“Wait and see” always sounds better than “procrastinate.”

---John Merrill Chilcote, St. Joseph News-Press, St. Joseph, Mo., Sept. 5, 1982.

I have the advantage in my work if I have not left yesterday’s until today.

---Roy L. Smith, Buffalo Morning Express, Buffalo, N.Y., April 17, 1925.

It is a tragic mistake to treat today as if it were tomorrow.

---Roy L. Smith, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., Feb. 27, 1933.

Most of us get crowded for time a little once in a while. Things seem to pile up some days, especially hard things which we would rather hate to do anyway, and we kind of balk. We think we don’t quite feel up to the job and then there will always be plenty of time a little later—probably tomorrow, when we will feel better. If there is any man that reads this that has not got some such hard job, that he has been putting off for weeks, and is no nearer to getting it done yet, and he will send in his name, we will print it—and then his wife or other boss will get after him mighty hard.

This matter of putting off the hard jobs has an awful name—procrastination. It also has another name—shorter and not so handsome—laziness. They mean the same thing—not getting there. The man who is afflicted with that habit, never quite gets his work done up—and he never finds it any easier to do that hard job. Usually he finds it harder, for he keeps dreading it more and more, and the freshness he might have had in the first few days is all gone. Often that job never gets done—and the next hard one is missed, too, and when a man has a little string of jobs he didn’t do behind him he is a failure. Then, when times get a little hard, or anything happens, out he goes. There is only one thing that will save him, and that is if the boss has the “procrastinating” habit, too. And if this is the case the boss will fail, pretty soon, so he will be out of a job anyway.

There is just one way to cure that habit—do the hard job now. You can and the longer you wait the harder it will be. Do it now. That job has been waiting for a long time—it will be one step toward failure if you put it off, even another day. Suppose someone should call in to close the account and find the job still not done. Do it now. If there is any one maxim which is absolutely necessary to success—if there are any three words that will do more than all the rest of the language, to keep a man on the right road—if there are any three words that are worth pasting in your hat they are these: DO IT NOW!

---Stanley Frost, The Citizen, Berea, Ky., Jan. 21, 1909.

A great many hard-working fellows are always wondering why they do not get ahead faster. They go after what they want with lots of energy, and certainly work hard, but some way the other fellow is always there ahead of them. Why is it?

A couple of men were standing one day on the back platform of a train as it drew out of a station, and watched a man trying to catch it. He ran fast and hard, lost his hat and dropped his grip, and still he just couldn’t catch it, though he ran a long ways.

“It is too bad he didn’t make it,” said one man. “I hate to see a man miss it after working so hard, and he certainly is a good runner.”

“There’s nothing wrong with his running,” replied the other man. “The trouble with him is that he didn’t start soon enough.”

And that is the matter with a lot of fellows whose hard work doesn’t seem to get them anywhere. They are a little late in starting. Some of them spend too much time in deciding what to do, and by the time they get started it is too late. And some who are hard workers are slow starters. They will keep putting off their effort from day to day, till finally the knowledge that the time is getting close makes them start, and then they work like sixty to catch up. Sometimes they make it, but sometimes, although there is nothing the matter with their running, as the fellow said, they are a little too late.

The fellow that really gets there is the one that starts on time, and then hustles. If you never get left, there is no lesson in this for you.

---Stanley Frost, The Citizen, Berea, Ky., Feb. 3, 1910.

It’s a strange thing how many people are suddenly aware of the fact that some trivial habit of early youth has become the stumbling block to progress. Sometimes it doesn’t take any actual moral weakness, nor lack of intelligence, to prevent success. The confirmed habit of procrastination, the casual habit of wasting time, the cruelty of some physical habit which has grown strong enough to master us, any or all of these may ruin the opportunities of the finest minds to come into our lives. Many people imagine themselves to be ill when the only real trouble is the impossibility of overcoming some weakness of habit. Of course, some of these finding themselves maladjusted, do actually worry themselves into such illnesses as nervous indigestion, chronic insomnia, etc.

---Betsy Root, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., July 15, 1937.

How often do you stop to think of what a poor reflection the mirror of tangible accomplishment gives of the actuality of our personalities? We mean to do so much, but somehow, when we stop to take stock the time has passed so swiftly and there has been so little done. And yet it is the actual achievement that will record the measure of our service in the ultimate summary of our gift to man and his progress. It is so easy to let the mirror of reflected accomplishment get fogged over trivial mists of things non-essential which impede the creation of a clearly conceived idea. It is so easy to say, “I’ll start tomorrow.” Tomorrow never comes. Do it NOW. Every day you are changing, growing, or else losing ground. The contribution possible to the present is of the present. It will change as time changes you and the circumstances of your environment. If you want to give what you now have to give you must give it now. It won’t fit in later on. And no matter what you may have to give later, you will have lost forever the opportunity to give this day’s gift.

---Betsy Root, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., July 23, 1937.

There is hardly anything more destructive to effective work and high accomplishment than a habit of “putting off” disagreeable tasks. This postponing-of-the-disagreeable habit is also demoralizing to character. It produces superficial work and superficial living.

There is something lacking in the quality and solidity of character of a man who is always shirking disagreeable duties, sliding along the line of least resistance, and just trying to do things which are agreeable and easy. It is struggling with difficulties, with boldness and determination, that gives stamina to character and backbone to life.

A man who has been accustomed from boyhood to plow straight furrows regardless of obstructions, who will not swerve a hair’s breadth from his purpose, and who will not go around or over but through obstacles, has a solidity, a substantiality about him that is not found in a man who stops when he finds a hard place, and drifts along the line of least resistance. It is struggling with the difficult and wrestling with obstacles that give nerve and fiber and stamina to character.

A habit of always taking up the most disagreeable duties first, when possible, takes the drudgery out of a task and gives a delight to life which is never experienced by those who postpone distasteful or dreaded duties.

There is a sense of triumph which comes from the consciousness that you have mastered what discomposed you and was obnoxious to you, and that you have conquered what seemed difficult and have gotten it out of the way.

A man who shirks unpleasant duties and goes around obstacles has a sense of inferiority. He has a sort of contempt for himself, his cowardice, his shrinking nature, and his laziness. He does not respect himself so much as the man who sweeps everything before him, whether uninviting or not.

There is a feeling of strength and a sense of power which comes to a man who has conquered the enemies in his pathway and the obstacles that lay between him and his goal. A man who always tries to avoid the disagreeable and shirks obstacles is a weakling. He ruins his executive capacity and is not capable of grappling with difficulties.

There is everything in making up one’s mind resolutely to turn neither to the right nor to the left of an unwavering aim. It gives direction, purpose, and vigor to life which never come to a man who drifts with the current.

A strong man never hesitates or wavers when he comes to a hard place, but is all the more resolute to conquer, and this very determination not to shirt or to turn aside because of difficulties half conquers them. Dreading or postponing them engenders fear and destroys self-confidence, without which no great thing can be accomplished.

If procrastination runs in your blood, and if you have come down from an indolent ancestry, you will be obliged to discipline yourself severely to overcome the “putting off” habit, for every disagreeable task that confronts you will tempt you to postpone it. All sorts of excuses will present themselves to you, and the only way to overcome this fatal tendency is to compel yourself to begin at once the thing you dread. Do not allow the argument which, perhaps, speaks in your blood to confront you.

Listen to nothing, but begin the work instantly, and you will soon conquer this unfortunate weakness which is fatal to all achievement, and death to any effective endeavor. Force yourself to begin immediately the task at hand.

Procrastination is the greatest enemy of achievement. Nothing is more delusive than delay. The man who thinks he is going to do the delayed thing later, especially if it is a disagreeable task, will probably never do it.

People who hesitate, delay, dillydally, weigh, consider, and dread a task never amount to anything.

A habit of delay is destructive to energy, which does things. More boys fail to get on in the world from this fatal habit of “putting off” than from anything else. It induces laziness and mental inaction, and destroys self-trust.

If this fatal tendency runs in your blood, the moment you feel a temptation to postpone a task come over you, jump up on the instant and go at your work with all your might. Take up the most obnoxious thing you have to do and never allow your habit to suggest another postponement.

“Putting off” is a dangerous enemy; it is worse than a thief of time, for it robs you of opportunity. It mortgages your tomorrows for the debt that should be paid today. Every hour’s delay makes your task all the harder.

---Orison Swett Marden, Success Magazine, New York, N.Y., November 1903.

An unfinished task can cause more emotional disturbance than almost anything. Conversely, there is nothing which gives one a more renovating sense of satisfaction than a job completed when it should have been, The desk cleared of correspondence, the house cleaned on scheduled time, the garden cultivated well in advance of the growth of weeds, tomorrow’s assignment of lessons finished well in advance of the half-past-eleventh hour—these are sources of satisfaction which make us throw out our chests, take a deep breath, and wish the world well. Few things cause so much anxiety in life as the putting off of necessary tasks. Sometimes we neglect them just because we are tired and lethargic. Frequently we resent the fact that these things come in to interfere with pleasure. Then again, we ask what’s the use of doing now what can be done tomorrow? So after a time the little neglects pile up like a mountain, and when we confront them we are appalled and discouraged. Yet a few minutes of quick, resolute action when the duty first presented itself would have seen the thing done, and today happier as a result. One way to insure tomorrow’s happiness is by keeping tomorrow free of today’s neglected.

---Earl L. Douglass, The Daily Times, Beaver, Pa., Oct. 7, 1938.

If it took any effort to go from today to tomorrow, some people would still be in yesterday.

—Grady Imes, The Starkville News, Starkville, Miss., March 14, 1941.

Procrastination's best friend is rationalization.

—Robert O. Torgerson, Messenger, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, December 1963.

Procrastination is a milestone on the road to failure.

—Billy Sunday, The Shreveport Times, Shreveport, La., March 31, 1924.

Procrastination makes cowards of us all.

—Harold Susman, Lippincott's Monthly Magazine, Philadelphia, Pa., January 1912.

Procrastination is the assassin of opportunity.

—Emmet Rodwell Calhoun, Louisville Times, Louisville, Ky., Jan. 14, 1905.

Procrastination is not only the thief of time, it is a bitter enemy to ambition.

—Ruth Fowler Brown, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., May 31, 1934.

Putting off decisions is merely waiting for a brainy day.

—Purser Hewitt, The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Miss., Aug. 16, 1970.

Procrastination is the mildew of intention.

—W.A. MacKenzie, Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville, Fla., Nov. 7, 1922.

Procrastination is not only the thief of time; it is the grave of opportunity.

—R.B. Moore, San Antonio Register, San Antonio, Texas, Sept. 4, 1931.

Most postponement creates a condition in which there develops a collision of duties.

—Bob Wear, Hereford Brand, Hereford, Texas, April 10, 1983.

The habit of procrastination [is] putting off any and all things which [people] dread to do but which they know should be done. Fear feeds on procrastination. Each time a task is put off because it seems more difficult, it grows in power to make us unhappy. We start by fearing some small act, a little, and end up in the terror which we have created by delay. The tendency to put things off is one of the surest and most definite symptoms of nervous instability and eventual nervous breakdown. Grasp a tough job by the horns, so to speak, and it proves surprisingly easy. Delay doing it and it overwhelms us. Fear fears on fear and quickly grows to be a monster. But it can be knocked out in the first round–if we take the offensive.

—Grove H. Patterson, Toledo Blade, Toledo, Ohio, March 31, 1943.

Procrastination is more than just a thief. It can be a killer--of your dreams of success. Are you one of those who constantly promises to take action "tomorrow" but never quite gets around to doing the job? If so, it's time to change your habits–now, not tomorrow–to get on the road to success. For procrastination is as deadly a habit as alcoholism and narcotics insofar as success is concerned. ... The best idea in the world is valueless until you take action on it–today, not tomorrow.

—Napoleon Hill, Houston Post, Houston, Texas, Aug. 27, 1956.

Procrastination indicates one does not see his way clearly. Truly, when we procrastinate, we struggle with ruin. We ruin the constant development of character, the will to achieve, the satisfaction of knowing a job's well done, and the confidence others have in us.

—Howard W. Allen, Golden Gateway, Oakland, Calif., May 1964.

Few of us ever start in any direction without some detour or delay. Not often are we able to see the end results. However, many times procrastination, which is poison to our souls, holds us back in our race for success. We put off and put off until the time for action is passed.

—R. Crawford Davis, Westate, Denver, Colo., September 1964.

Procrastination is a Demolition project. Some of the "D"s that dominate this D-Day of Destruction are Doubt, Discouragement, Despair, Despondency, Deceit, Disobedience, Discord, Disillusionment and Distrust.

—Horace P. Beesley, Challenge, Dusseldorf, West Germany, February 1966.

Putting off an easy thing makes it difficult; putting off a hard thing makes it impossible.

—Roy E. Gibson, Nephi Times-News, Nephi, Utah, April 12, 1973.

Persistence paralyzes procrastination.

---Carson City News, Carson City, Nev., Sept. 25,1923.

Procrastination kills more good intentions than all the other vices in the world.

Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle, Clarksville, Tenn., Feb. 17, 1922.

Procrastination is the thief of someone else's time.

Galveston Daily News, Galveston, Texas, April 19, 1896.

The one who puts off until tomorrow what can be done today, mortgages the future.

The Herald of Gospel Liberty, Portsmouth, N.H., Dec. 5, 1929.

Those who put everything off till tomorrow wake up the next day more unprepared than ever from worrying all night.

The Journal, Logan, Utah, Oct. 14, 1913.

The cause of procrastination is indolence or indisposition toward the object. Indolence shrinks from present effort and dreams away the passing hour in listless inactivity; while mental indisposition leads the mind to waste its powers on other tasks equally useless and unavailing.

Lady's Pearl, Lowell, Massachusetts, March 1841.

Procrastination is the only thief that works 24 hours a day.

Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, Calif., Nov. 14, 1939.

The man who procrastinates is the one whose words carry wait.

Philadelphia Record, Philadelphia, Pa., Aug. 1, 1900.

Procrastination is sleeping on the highway of progress.

Zion's Ensign, Lamoni, Iowa, Sept. 12, 1912.


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  • kookoo88 profile image

    kookoo88 6 years ago from Cripple Creek

    I was going to read this, but I think I'll wait til tomorrow . . . :D

    No, this is a really great compilation. I like this one:

    "Procrastination kills more good intentions than all the other vices in the world."