We’re all guilty of using our time poorly from time to time. Invariably, we then waste more time feeling guilty about the time we’ve wasted.
So, how can you stress less, and achieve more? Sometimes all you need is a shot of motivation. With that in mind, here are 10 quotes about time that will make you rethink your routine.
1. “The first hour of the morning is the rudder of the day.”
There’s a reason that so many business leaders are morning people. It’s the same reason you’ll find so many articles advocating getting up before you need to, and the same reason studies link early rising with productivity.
It’s because the way you start the day goes on to shape it. A late rise makes you rushed, groggy, and stuck chasing lost time. An early rise gives you a mental head start. As much as we all hate that early morning alarm bell, answering its call can make you more alert, more productive and more in control of your day.
2. “The surest way to be late is to have plenty of time.”
It can be comforting to think you’ve got plenty of time to get something done. Time to have another cup of coffee, time to scroll through another five minutes of social feed, time for a covert spot of online shopping at the desk. But time is a trickster.
Before you know it, ‘plenty’ of time turns into being pushed for time. That free stretch in front of you has been swallowed up, and somehow, unconceivably, you’re behind schedule. You might think you’ve got ages today, but tomorrow and its tasks always come sooner than you think.
3. “To do two things at once is to do neither.”
Many of us pride ourselves on being multi-taskers. Unfortunately, our multi-tasking is little more than a mirage in the great desert of distraction. In dividing our attention across too many touchpoints, we end up unfocused, and more prone to errors.
Think of your brain as a computer. For all its intelligence, it’s only got so much bandwidth. You’re not an automation engine, and in constantly switching back and forth between focuses, you’re doing justice to neither activity.
4. “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”
Work can be overwhelming. There’s always too much to do, too much to learn, too much to try to figure out. We’re all striving to build ourselves a brighter future, but there’s an interminable number of accomplishments to make before we get to where we want to be.
So how can anyone stay purposeful? The trick is in remembering that the future will never come any slower or any faster than one single day at a time. All you can do is focus on the present. By making the most out of each day, you’ll find yourself ready and capable to meet the future as it comes.
5. “It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.”
Most of us pack as much into our working day as possible. After all, there’s the core tasks of your job to complete, then all the smaller admin jobs to wade through, then the time allocated to emails and meetings and telephone calls and a whole host of other invisible tasks that fill up the day.
But be careful not to confuse volume with value. All that work you’re doing might not actually be beneficial, and you may find that hacking away at your processes can make you more productive. To make full use of your working hours, constantly evaluate what you fill them with.
6. “Time is a created thing. To say, 'I don't have time,' is like saying, 'I don't want to.”
Isn’t it funny how there’s always ample time to complain about how little time we have, but never enough time to do anything about it? The truth is, we all get the same 24 hours to fill in whichever way we see fit. Nobody has a magical drawer where they keep spare time.
Time isn’t something you ‘find’ or ‘make’. It’s the one level playing field we’ve all got, and what you choose to do with your hours makes you the person you are. Ultimately, you are the driver of your own time. It might fly, but never forget that you’re the pilot.
7. “One thing you can’t recycle is wasted time.”
You don’t get a refund on poorly spent time. It can’t be recycled, replaced, re-engineered or otherwise rendered. Each hour that slides by is the only one of its kind you’ll ever get, and if you waste it, you’ve only robbed yourself. Puts a sobering perspective on procrastination, doesn’t it?
If you still don’t believe the detriments of wasting time, go talk to some older people. Ask them what they regret, and what they’d do differently if they could. Given their time again, most people would use it more proactively.
8. “If not now, then when?”
There will always be an excuse not to do something. It will always be easy to do something later, or tomorrow, or “one day”. In putting off something you know you need to do, however, you build it up in your mind. The task becomes more daunting and less achievable with every passing day.
So, stop letting the days pass. The sooner you start a task, the sooner it is done. Not only will you get a huge rush of accomplishment when you finish that difficult job, a positive, hands-on approach will also help you feel less stressed about tackling future projects.
9. “There’s never enough time to do it right, but there’s always enough time to do it over.”
Business is a fast-moving landscape, and every brand is under pressure to keep up. On an office level, the result is usually tight time scales, urgent deadlines and an ongoing race for results. But doing a job right is better than doing it rushed.
A hasty botch job will only lead to costly re-work. Instead of scrabbling to get something through the door, you’d do better to settle down into the task. Think about it. Do it right, once – however long that may take. That's your direct route to the fast lane.
10. “People who cannot find time for recreation are obliged sooner or later to find time for illness."
This last quote is one that can’t be emphasised enough. For all the importance of working hard, avoiding procrastination and seizing the day as proactively and productively as possible, you also need your downtime.
Allowing yourself time to relax gives your brain the opportunity to recharge. Without that relaxation, you’ll find yourself overstretched and overtired, with your creative juices dried up. So, remember to treat yourself to the upsides of downtime.
These may be some of the lesser-known quotes about time, but they certainly put your working routine into perspective. Why not use them as a catalyst to get you thinking regularly about how to refine your processes and run your day?
This article features the writing of:
Author Name: Roxanne Abercrombie
Bio: Roxanne Abercrombie is Online Content Manager at Parker Software – a UK-based software house specialising in live chat and business process automation. She likes sugary tea, Arnold Schwarzenegger and quality copywriting. (Not necessarily in that order).