Time flies, fluttering its wings like a butterfly in the wind. It’s constantly on the move, and the fleeting moments pass us by escaping notice.
The world spins ever onward, and the abstract concept of time fades while we float through the minutes too focused on getting stuff done to care.
These quotes about time will stop you in your tracks and inspire you to stop and savor the moment you’re in.
73 Fantastic Quotes About Time
These quotes about time run the gambit from ponderings about the very nature of time to practical advice on how to live in the present and not waste a moment. They’re sourced from ancient philosophers, modern fiction, religious leaders, poets, and productivity experts.
Whatever your ponderings about time and whatever inspiration you need, one of these quotes is sure to fit the bill.
Don’t Waste It
“A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.”
― Charles Darwin
The value of life rests in the time we have here. Make the best of it, and don’t waste a second.
Live For Yourself
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
– Steve Jobs
Far too many people waste their lives doing what other people want them to do. They follow the life script they were given and live miserable lives because they never pursued what they really wanted.
Our time here is far too short to spend it living someone else’s life.
Enjoy Your Time
“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” – Marthe Troly-Curtin
Others love to tell us when we’re wasting time on trifles, but if you’re having fun, the time isn’t wasted.
Life’s Too Short
“Don’t waste your time in anger, regrets, worries, and grudges. Life is too short to be unhappy.”
― Roy T. Bennett
Bennet makes a great point. Life is too short to waste precious time on pointless drama.
“Don’t waste your time with explanations: people only hear what they want to hear.”
― Paulo Coelho
Don’t waste time on people who aren’t going to listen. Senseless arguments only leave you frustrated. Your time is better spent elsewhere.
People Won’t Change
“Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door. ”
― Coco Chanel
We spend far too much time hoping someone will change into what we believe they can be. If they wanted to, they would. Stop wasting your time with people who don’t want to change.
Does Time Heal?
“It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’ I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue, and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.”
― Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy
Time may lessen the pain, but the wounds never truly heal.
Money Can’t Buy Time
“Top 15 Things Money Can’t Buy. Time. Happiness. Inner Peace. Integrity. Love. Character. Manners. Health. Respect. Morals. Trust. Patience. Class. Common sense. Dignity.”
― Roy T. Bennett
Money isn’t everything. It can buy the most precious commodities in the universe: Time, love, and respect. However, lack of money can be a massive hindrance to those things.
Time is Distance
“Time is the longest distance between two places.”
― Tennessee Williams
We can traverse any distance except time. We can never return to something in the past.
Time Changes Everything
“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”
― Andy Warhol
Time doesn’t change things. Things change with time because people make the changes happen. You could make changes happen too.
Now is What Matters
“Time is a very misleading thing. All there is ever is the now. We can gain experience from the past, but we can’t relive it; and we can hope for the future, but we don’t know if there is one.”
― George Harrison
The past is done, the future isn’t here yet. All we have is now, so we need to make the best of it.
A Weird Relationship with Time
“Time is what we want most but what we use worst.” – William Penn
At the end, we always wish we had more time. So why do we waste the precious days we have?
Don’t Dream of Someday, Do it Now
“Someday” is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you.” – Timothy Ferriss
Stop wistfully thinking of someday and start making your “someday” happen.
Time is an Illusion
“Time is an illusion.”
― Albert Einstein
Einstein questioned the very nature of time in his work on relativity. If time isn’t real, then what is?
It’s a Gift
“Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.” – Bil Keane
This present moment is a gift. How will you use it?
Stop Thinking, Start Doing
“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.”
— Bruce Lee
We often spend too much time thinking about doing things and not enough time actually doing them. Some of that is the fear of getting things wrong or the desire for perfection.
Remember, perfection is the enemy of progress, and anything worth doing is worth doing poorly. So start now and stop worrying about it.
Time Waits for No One
“You may delay, but time will not.”
— Benjamin Franklin
Time keeps ticking away. Every second spent not doing something is a second you can’t get back.
It Takes Too Long
“Don’t let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use.”
― Earl Nightingale
How many times have you decided not to do something because it takes too long? Meanwhile, you do nothing as the hours whittle away anyway. You have the time; you may as well do something with it.
“Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go
So make the best of this test, and don’t ask why
It’s not a question but a lesson learned in time”
– Greenday, Good Riddance
Greenday’s short and sweet melody on nostalgia shows us that time always moves forward regardless of what we do. Time won’t wait on us. If we don’t decide what to do, time will push us where it likes.
It’s Never the Right Time
“If you wait for the perfect moment when all is safe and assured, it may never arrive. Mountains will not be climbed, races won, or lasting happiness achieved.”
― Maurice Chevalier
If you’re waiting for the stars to align, you’ll end up waiting forever. The timing may never be right, so you may as well start now.
“The great dividing line between success and failure can be expressed in five words: ‘I did not have time.’”
– Franklin Field
Things don’t magically happen, you have to make them happen. And to do that, you have to make time for them.
Our schedules are busy, but if something is important to you, you need to prioritize it and carve out time to get it done.
What is Busy?
“It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?”
― Henry David Thoreau
Busyness makes time fly, but the more important aspect is what we spend time doing. Are we keeping busy to while the hours, are we spending time on things that are meaningful to us?
No Time Like The Present
“The time for action is now. It’s never too late to do something.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
The English language abounds with adages about doing something now rather than later because it’s true. Act now. Start now. Stop putting things off for a later that may never come.
What and When
“A plan is what, a schedule is when. It takes both a plan and a schedule to get things done.”
— Peter Turla
A plan is a great first step, but if you don’t set a time to work on your plan, you’ll never achieve your goals.
“My goal is no longer to get more done, but rather to have less to do.”
— Francine Jay
Many of us seek to fill our hours with stuff just to make the time pass. Then before we know it, our time is gone, and we don’t know how we spent it.
Instead, seek to have empty hours so you can fill them by being 100% present at the moment.
It’s the Moments that Matter
“Life isn’t a matter of milestones, but of moments.”
– Rose Kennedy
We’re always chasing the big milestones, but most of our lives are made up of the little moments. Find ways to bring joy to your small moments.
Big Moments Change You
“Bottom line is, even if you see ’em comin’, you’re not ready for the big moments. No one asks for their life to change, not really. But it does.
So, what are we? Helpless? Puppets? No. The big moments are gonna come, you can’t help that. It’s what you do afterwards that counts. That’s when you find out who you are.”
– Whistler, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Life is made up of small moments. We often say that in the end, it’s the little things that matter. But everyone has a few huge moments in their life that completely change everything. These moments make us who we are.
“It’s crazy how fast time flies and how things progress.”
– Nathan Chen
Have you ever left your hometown for a few years, only to come back to find everything is different? It didn’t feel like you were gone for so long. It’s only when you return you see how much time changed things.
Take Your Time
“In life, when presented with any situation, breathe, take your time, focus and then decide what to do.”
— Rickson Gracie
Everything doesn’t have to be rushed all the time. You don’t have to make snap decisions. Take the time to consider your options and choose a path that’s right for you.
The Time You Have
“No such thing as spare time, no such thing as free time, no such thing as downtime. All you got is lifetime. Go.”
— Henry Rollins
Change the way you think about free time. It’s not really free; you’re spending it somehow. The great thing is that you get to decide how to spend it.
“With technology and over-scheduling, we are forgetting to invest time in simple connective moments with others.”
— Michelle Gielan
With our busy lives, we often forget to make time for what matters most: Small moments with people we cherish.
Make Time for Loved Ones
“At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, or a parent.”
– Barbara Bush
We always assume there will be more time. We can call our parents tomorrow, visit our grandparents next year, or catch our kid’s next football game.
Tomorrow is never promised, it’s vital to carve out time for important people in the here and now.
Do Something Different
“Don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life.”
– Robin S. Sharma
Einstein said insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. So why are you reliving the same year over and over?
Do something different. Take chances. Explore. If you don’t, you’ll wake up one day and realize your best years are behind you, and you’re no longer able to do the things you thought you’d do “someday.”
Live for Today
“I always live in the present. The future I can’t know. The past I no longer have.”
— Fernando Pessoa
Why waste time worrying about the past or the future when you have the present moment?
You Can Find the Time
“One can find time for everything if one is never in a hurry.”
— Mikhail Bulgakov
We’re always saying we don’t have time, but have you ever stopped to consider what that means? Perhaps if you stopped rushing around, busying yourself with things that don’t actually matter, you could find the time to do things you want.
Take Time for the Present
“Stop and take your time to notice things and make those things you notice matter.”
— Cecelia Ahern
Stop and smell the roses. But not just the roses. Listen to the birds chirp, and watch the butterflies gracefully float from flower to flower. Allow yourself the time to enjoy the endless bounties and small joys the world offers.
How We Spend Our Time
“Half our time is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save.”
— Will Rogers
We rush through life trying to save precious moments, but when we finally have them, we don’t know how to spend them.
Not Doing What We Want
“People hurry so they can get to places faster, where they’d rather not be, so they can have more time to do things they’d rather not be doing.”
– Peter Turla
We rush through life so we can spend more time doing things we don’t want to do. Why? Savor the small moments you have, focus on the present, and spend your free time doing what you love.
Don’t Waste Time
“Free time is a terrible thing to waste. Read a book.”
— E.A. Bucchianeri
People complain about boredom when there are thousands of things they can do to fill their free time. Reading thrusts us into new realms and introduces new perspectives we may never have considered.
There are hundreds of other hobbies you can pursue in your free time, so why are you wasting it?
Precious Things in Life
“There’s only one thing more precious than our time and that’s who we spend it on.”
– Leo Christopher
Time is precious, so we must spend it wisely. Devote your hours to the only thing more precious than time: the people you love.
Don’t Let Time Pass Us By
“I’ll never forget the places we’ve been, you and I
Our lives, are slipping away, don’t want to let time pass us by”
– Mest Jaded
The lesser-known but exceptional early 2000s pop punk band Mest sings about wasting time on memories of days long gone. Stop living in the past and focus on the present moment.
“Too often man handles life as he does the bad weather. He whiles away the time as he waits for it to stop.”
– Alfred Polgar
Too many of us are just going through the motions, filling time to alleviate boredom rather than to self-actualize. Stop waiting and start doing.
Keep Working On It
“Once you have mastered time, you will understand how true it is that most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year – and underestimate what they can achieve in a decade!”
— Anthony Robbins
We’re obsessed with instant results and think things aren’t worthwhile if they take a long time to achieve. So rather than start, we do nothing, thinking it won’t be worth the effort.
Ten years isn’t really that long. You’ll be surprised what you can accomplish in that timeframe if you put your mind to it.
We Can’t Control Time
“Time management is an oxymoron. Time is beyond our control, and the clock keeps ticking regardless of how we lead our lives. Priority management is the answer to maximizing the time we have.”
– John C. Maxwell
Time waits for no man. We can’t manage time or control it. What we can do, however, is control what we do with our time. Focus on the things that matter most to you.
There’s Never Enough Time
“There is never enough time to do everything, but there is always enough time to do the most important thing.”
— Brian Tracy
The harsh truth about life is you can’t do everything. There’s not enough time to become a world-renowned physicist, learn the inner workings of the human body, master a trade, and raise a family.
But on the flip side, there is enough time to do the things that truly matter to you. Decide what you want out of life and spend your time pursuing it.
We Waste So Much Time
“We all sorely complain of the shortness of time, and yet have much more than we know what to do with. Our lives are either spent in doing nothing at all, or in doing nothing to the purpose, or in doing nothing that we ought to do. We are always complaining that our days are few, and acting as though there would be no end of them.”
Is there really not enough time, or is the problem that we waste the time we’re gifted? How many hours do you spend on pointless things that alleviate boredom but accomplish nothing?
How to Value Time
“Until you value yourself, you will not value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.”
— M. Scott Peck
You are worth time. You’re worth both your own time and other people’s time. Don’t let others try to tell you you’re not.
Value yourself by taking time for self-care, engaging in your hobbies, and connecting with people who are important to you.
Spend Your Time Doing What You Want
“Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand, and melting like a snowflake.”
— Sir Francis Bacon
What would you do if you found out you only had thirty days left to live? Why aren’t you doing that now?
The Essence of Time
“Time is what turns kittens into cats” – Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The joke quote by the loan shark in Buffy the Vampire Slayer is actually quite profound. Time changes us, it ages us, and we lose the energy of youth.
If we’re not careful, we’ll lose the kittenish playfulness we once cherished and become grumpy old cats.
You Have Time
“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”
— H. Jackson Brown Junior
We all have the same number of hours each day. The difference is in how we use them.
“The main problem with this great obsession for saving time is very simple: you can’t save time. You can only spend it. But you can spend it wisely or foolishly.”
— Benjamin Hoff
Saving time is impossible. The seconds tick by no matter what we do. Shift your mindset from saving time to considering the best ways to spend your time.
“The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.”
— Jack London
Far too many of us spend our days merely existing, prolonging the inevitable for no reason other than to prolong them.
Stop existing and start living. Do something bold, daring, and dangerous. Enjoy the moments you have.
“Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” — American Proverb
Your life can change in an instant, but you have to do something to make that change. There are so many things you can do today that will drastically improve your life, but you need to take the leap. Your life can start now.
“As we speak, cruel time is fleeing. Seize the day, believing as little as possible in the morrow.”
We can’t know what tomorrow will bring, so live each day as if it will be your last. Make the best of the present.
Master Your Life
“Time = life; therefore, waste your time and waste your life, or master your time and master your life.”
— Alan Lakein
Becoming a master of your own time is crucial to a fulfilling life. Stop wasting time on things that don’t bring you joy.
Figure Out What To Do With Your Time
“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four-hour days.”
— Zig Ziglar
We sometimes think we don’t have time because we haven’t prioritized well. We have time, we just spend it doing a thousand little things that don’t matter.
What Do We Really Waste?
“We say we waste time, but that is impossible. We waste ourselves.”
— Alice Boch
We’re not wasting time when we do nothing; we’re wasting moments in our lives we could be using to do something great.
You’re in Control
“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.”
— Michael Altshuler
Time does fly; there’s no stopping it. However, we get to decide what to do with the time we have. What are you going to do with yours?
What You Lose
“Waste your money, and you’re only out of money, but waste your time, and you’ve lost a part of your life.”
— Michael LeBoeuf
You can always make more money, but you can’t make more time. Why do we worry about how we’re spending money more than we worry about how we’re spending time?
We Take it for Granted
“Time is a gift that most of us take for granted. We get so caught up in the busyness of our daily lives that we rarely stop and take a serious look at how we’re spending this gift.”
— Cheryl Richardson
We always assume we’ll have tomorrow until one day; we realize it isn’t promised. By the time we realize it, it’s usually too late.
Make an effort to be more mindful about how you spend your time while you still have the opportunity to do so.
“My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.”
— Steve Jobs
Our time is so fleeting, why do we constantly spend it doing things that don’t matter? Treat your time like the precious resource it is.
Time is Priceless
“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it, you can never get it back.”
— Harvey MacKay
The abstract nature of time prevents us from considering it in our daily lives. We can’t touch it, hold it, or store it for later. All we have is the present moment, so it’s crucial we spend it wisely.
Time Flies When You’re Having Fun
“All our sweetest hours fly fastest.”
The Roman poet may have been the first to put the abstract concept of how time flies into words. Time seems to fly by when we’re doing the things we love.
Stop Watching the Clock
“Time sometimes flies like a bird, sometimes crawls like a snail; but a man is happiest when he does not even notice whether it passes swiftly or slowly.”
– Ivan Turgenev
Time flies when you’re having fun because you’ve stopped watching the clock. Do stuff that makes you happy all the time, and you’ll never have to worry about what time it is.
“I enjoy life, and I think that’s important. Life is so fragile and so fleeting, and it’s over in a minute, and you’ve just got to grab it and do everything and not worry about it.”
– Jerry Hall
Life is short. Our time here is fleeting. It’s crucial to enjoy the brief moments we have.
No Time Left
“One day, you will wake up, and there won’t be any more time to do the thing you’ve always wanted. Do it now.”
— Paulo Coelho
Don’t keep waiting for a someday that may never come. Do what you want to do now.
The Moments That Matter
“Savor the moments in life that make your heart glow. Chase after and find the moments that will take your breath away. In the end, it is only those milestones on life’s journey that matter.”
― Michael Delaware
Life is filled with moments. Some burst with ecstatic joy, while others are so dull we don’t even remember. The joyful moments are what make life worth living. Determine what brings you joy and fill your life with those moments.
Our Time is So Short
“The lifetime of a human being is measured by decades. The lifetime of the Sun is a hundred million times longer. Compared to a star, we are like mayflies, fleeting, ephemeral creatures who live out their lives in the course of a single day.”
— Carl Sagan
Relative to the geological timescale and the universe’s age, our lives are very brief. Why do we waste these precious seconds on things that don’t matter?
The Best Time To Be Happy
“Do not set aside your happiness. Do not wait to be happy in the future. The best time to be happy is always now”
— Roy Bennett
Why are you waiting for happiness? Tomorrow isn’t promised. The future is unknown. Do what makes you happy today because it’s all you have.
When is the Best Time?
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is today”
The best time to start something has always already passed. You can’t go back and change that. All you can do is start today. Stop wasting another twenty years because you didn’t start earlier.
The Present Matters
“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
The past is done. The future hasn’t been written yet. Why are you dwelling on either? All we have is the present, so focus on it.
What We Can Control
“If you feel anxiety or depression, you are not in the present. You are either anxiously projecting the future or depressed and stuck in the past. The only thing you have any control over is the present moment; simple breathing exercises can make us calm and present instantly.”
― Tobe Hanson
We can’t change the past, and we can’t control the future. We can, however, control what we do right now in this present moment.
Stop Dreaming, Start Doing
“All his life has he looked away…to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing.”
– Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back
Our favorite fictional sage scolds Luke to stop thinking about the future and keep his mind focused on what he’s doing in the present moment. Our future dreams will fail if we don’t start working on them today, in the present.
Take the Inspiration and Seize Your Day!
Hopefully, you found inspiration in these quotes about time to change your thoughts about life and time. Our time on this planet is limited, so stop wasting it on things that don’t matter. Make an effort to be more mindful and present in every moment, and stop putting off your goals for the future.
Starting today, you can live the life you’ve always wanted.
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.