Looking for productivity quotes that’ll help you stop procrastinating on crucial tasks and get more done?
Whether you’re struggling with getting started, or want insights into the productivity frameworks of some of the most successful entrepreneurs of all time, we’ve got you covered.
In this article, we share 40+ productivity quotes that cover the nature of productivity, tangible tactics and frameworks for getting more done, and break down the key lessons from each one.
10 quotes on the nature of productivity
First, let’s start by exploring quotes that focus on defining and explaining productivity as a concept.
1. Franz Kafka
“Productivity is being able to do things that you were never able to do before.” — Franz Kafka
This quote from famous author Franz Kafka really explains the core concept of productivity quite well. Productivity is all about doing more in less time — doing things that you’d typically put off and procrastinate over.
2. Peter Drucker
“Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.” — Peter Drucker, author and management consultant
How you manage your time is at the heart of getting more things done and being productive.
3. Stephen King
“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” ― Stephen King, author of 81+ published books
Attitude is at the core of becoming more productive, holding yourself accountable as a professional is key.
4. Seth Godin
“You don’t need a new plan for next year. You need a commitment.” — Seth Godin
This motivational quote explains that the key to productivity isn’t a plan, but a commitment.
5. John Wooden
“Don’t mistake activity with achievement.”― John Wooden, basketball coach
Just doing something doesn’t mean you’re being productive. You have to work on tangible tasks that bring you closer to your goals.
6. Tim Ferriss
“Focus on being productive instead of busy.” Tim Ferriss, entrepreneur, podcaster, author
Again, productivity isn’t the same as just being busy. Spend more time on doing things that work towards your objectives.
7. Paul J. Meyer
“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” — Paul J. Meyer, author
Being productive isn’t something that you are born with. It’s something you devote yourself to and achieve with hard work.
8. Bill Gates
“Most people overestimate what they can do in 1 year and underestimate what they can do in 10 years.” ― Bill Gates, entrepreneur, founder of Microsoft
Long-term productivity and staying the path can be much more powerful than a New Year’s resolution.
9. Steve Jobs
“Details matter, it’s worth waiting to get it right.”― Steve Jobs
Being productive doesn’t mean rushing jobs or dropping your standards. Keep working towards your real goals.
10. Neil Blumenthal
“We all have a personal recipe for productivity. 1 person may need 6 cups of autonomy and just a pinch of collaboration. Another person may require heaps of sociability and noise, with just a teaspoon of occasional privacy.” — Neil Blumenthal, founder of Warby Parker
You need to find what works for you and your team, not just try to copy what someone else does.
10 quotes on obstacles to productivity — and how to overcome them
11. Henry Ford
“Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right.” — Henry Ford
Self-belief is key to productivity. You must believe in your ability to deliver on your promises to yourself and others.
12. Richard Branson
“You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.” — Richard Branson
One of the biggest obstacles to getting things done is the fear of failure. This quote from ultra-successful serial entrepreneur Richard Branson states the truth like it is — you won’t get anywhere without it.
The only way to learn and get where you want to go is to try and fail over and over again.
13. Pablo Picasso
“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone” ― Pablo Picasso
It’s easy to postpone tasks until “tomorrow” indefinitely. Be careful with procrastination, as it’s easy to get stuck in a bad circle.
14. Will Smith
“The first step is you have to say that you can.”― Will Smith, actor, artist
Without confidence and self-belief, you won’t be able to do what’s necessary. Take time to affirm good thoughts — don’t give yourself room for doubt to grow.
15. Nathan Morris
“It’s not always that we need to do more, but rather that we need to focus on less.” ― Nathan W. Morris, author and finance expert
It’s easy to get stuck when you try to do everything at once. A big part of productivity is finding the right high-impact things to focus on.
16. Jeff Bezos
“Life’s too short to hang out with people who aren’t resourceful.” — Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon
Your social circle has a big impact on your productivity and how you spend your time. Find friends who help you stay focused on the right things.
17. Warren Buffet
“You only have to do a very few things right in your life, so long as you don’t do too many things wrong.” — Warren Buffett, investor
A key to long-term productivity and achieving your goals is also to avoid doing things that directly work against your progress
18. Henry Ford
“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” — Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor Company
Giving up after failure is the easiest way to be unproductive.
19. Bruce Lee
“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.” ― Bruce Lee
Don’t get stuck in a cycle of overthinking and procrastination. Just getting started is the most important thing.
20. Walt Disney
“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” — Walt Disney
Want to get more things done? Start doing.
20 quotes on how to actually become more productive — tactics and strategies
In this section, we look at quotes that explain mindsets and practical tactics to be more productive.
21. David Allen
“You don’t actually do a project; you can only do action steps related to it. When enough of the right action steps have been taken, some situation will have been created that matches your initial picture of the outcome closely enough that you can call it ‘done’.” ― David Allen, author of ‘Getting Things Done’
Break larger projects down into tangible steps to help you consistently progress.
22. Shia LaBeouf
“There’s a tendency to mistake preparation for productivity. You can prepare all you want, but if you never roll the dice, you’ll never be successful.” — Shia LaBeouf
Eventually, you need to take the plunge, not just prepare for the task.
23. Saint Francis of Assisi
“Start by doing what is necessary, then do what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” — Saint Francis of Assisi
Give yourself time to achieve large, long-term goals.
24. Martin Luther King
“You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” — Martin Luther King, civil rights icon, author
Don’t try to plan everything before you start working on it.
25. Ernest Hemingway
“Never mistake motion for action.” — Ernest Hemingway
Don’t give too much credit to just being busy — focus on your actual output.
26. Sam Levenson
“Don’t watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going.” — Sam Levenson
Don’t spend too much of your time looking at the clock or vanity metrics. Get to work.
27. Dale Carnegie
“Do the hard jobs first. Easy jobs will take care of themselves.” — Dale Carnegie
Focus on hard tasks that matter to set the tone.
28. Susan Cain
“What looks like multitasking is really switching back and forth between multiple tasks, which reduces productivity and increases mistakes by up to 50%.” — Susan Cain
Focus on one task at a time.
29. Gretchen Rubin
“Over the long run, the unglamorous habit of frequency fosters both productivity and creativity.” — Gretchen Rubin, author
Consistency is key to becoming more productive. Focus on building good habits.
30. Stephen Covey
“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” — Stephen Covey
Don’t get distracted by your schedule, or email inbox — focus on doing the right thing.
31. David Allen
“What we truly need to do is often what we most feel like avoiding.” — David Allen
Don’t allow yourself to put off and procrastinate over the most crucial tasks.
32. Coco Chanel
“Success is often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.” — Coco Chanel
To become a successful person, you can’t let self-doubt stop you from taking action.
33. Arthur Schopenhauer
“Ordinary people think merely of spending time, great people think of using it.” — Arthur Schopenhauer
Value your time — it’s the most important resource you have.
34. Martha Stewart
“Life is too complicated not to be orderly.” — Martha Stewart
Use schedules, calendars, and to-do lists to ensure you actually accomplish your goals.
35. Lao Tzu
“Great acts are made up of small deeds.” — Lao Tzu
To achieve a big goal, you need to break it down into small action steps.
36. Michael Jordan
“Sometimes, things may not go your way, but the effort should be there every single night.” — Michael Jordan
Don’t let small setbacks stop your progress.
37. David Allen
“Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.” — David Allen
Write down your big ideas, don’t let yourself forget them.
38. Albert Einstein
“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” — Albert Einstein
Don’t be afraid to fail in the short term, it’s crucial for long-term success.
39. Seth Godin
“Soon is not as good as now.” — Seth Godin
Don’t postpone crucial tasks, do them ASAP.
40. Lailah Gifty Akita
“Good well-being promotes good productivity.” — Lailah Gifty Akita
Don’t let the hustle stop you from eating healthily, exercising, and getting enough sleep. Good physical and mental health is crucial for long-term productivity.
41. Marcus Aurelius
“You have power over your mind — not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” — Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor
Focus on your circle of influence and what you can do, don’t get distracted by bad news outside your control.
We hope these inspirational productivity quotes help get you in the right mindset to get back to work. But motivation alone isn’t enough to be productive.
The best way is to create your own system for productivity. For more help, check out this range of productivity apps.
Beyond quotes — boost your productivity by getting organized with monday.com
With monday.com, you can create a tailored productivity platform for both yourself and your entire company.
Use 200+ ready-made templates, smart features, and our automation builder to create a smoother workflow for your team.
Team workflow templates
Master your workflow and the process of your entire team using premade templates. You can manage tasks by priority, status, and other factors, and add files directly to the table.
Use these to document and keep track of progress so you can boost the overall productivity of your company.
Visualization tools for a high-level overview
With monday.com, you can create custom real-time dashboards that give you a high-level overview over the status of your projects.Text alone isn’t going to give you the full picture. Stay on top of your team’s productivity levels with charts and real-time data.
Automations and integrations to eliminate mundane tasks
Don’t let small menial tasks bog down your process. With our automation builder, you can set up automation notifications and synchronize data across departments and teams.
You can also use our 40+ native integrations — for example, Slack, Zendesk, and Gmail — to make sure everyone stays connected and has access to all data at all times.
Use productivity quotes to inspire you
Reading quotes from successful people can be a good way to motivate yourself towards getting work done.
They can also help you build a new framework for thinking about things like failure that can help you take action and avoid procrastination.
But the most important thing you can do for your productivity levels is to set up a system for how you work.
Use our work calendar template to get started.