Best Time Quotes

Time, that elusive son of a gun. Sometimes there’s too much of it, sometimes not enough. Trying to understand it is something that every generation of humans has been struggling with since the dawn of time. Is time on our side, or is it running against us? Is it our friend or our enemy?

Generations have asked those questions while trying to figure out how time relates to human experience, work ethic, joy, love, and friendships. So, what’s the answer? Or better yet, is there an answer, and where can one find it?

Maybe within ourselves or maybe by turning to some of the best quotes about time we meticulously gathered from all corners of the internet and put into this article.

Best Time Quotes
In this guide, you’ll learn:
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19 Quotes About Time From Famous Writers

Some of the best quotes about time have been written to withstand the test of time itself. They come from some of the most famous novelists of their era, giving these quotes longevity that has far surpassed their creators.

1. “Time flies over us, but leaves its shadow behind.” - Nathaniel Hawthorne

Nathaniel Hawthorne was a 19th-century American novelist and short story writer best known for his works that often explore themes of guilt, sin, and morality. So, it’s no wonder his quote has a somewhat ominous note.

But, if you break it down, its meaning is far less sinister – everything that happens during our lives can leave a positive or negative mark on us. So, don’t let your past define you; acknowledge the negatives and learn from them. 

2. “The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” - Leo Tolstoy

This quote by the great Russian writer, Leo Tolstoy, reminds us that for some things to come to fruition, we need to exercise patience and let time do its thing. In this fast-paced world, everyone seems to be looking for instant fame without realizing people have put a lot of time and effort into becoming successful. 

3. “Time is a river which sweeps me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger which destroys me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire which consumes me, but I am the fire.” - Jorge Luis Borges

4. “Time and tide wait for no man.” - Geoffrey Chaucer

The beauty of this quote lies in the constant reminder that time has no interest in our personal dealings. No matter what you choose to do, time will not stop going forward. So, if you are having trouble managing your time effectively and want to change that, you should definitely try My Hours.

5. “The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.” - C.S. Lewis

Time simply goes on for everybody. No one can speed it up or slow it down, and no one has any influence over it.

6. “Time is the longest distance between two places." - Tennessee Williams

7. “Time is a fluid condition which has no existence except in the momentary avatars of individual people.” - Virginia Woolf

As this quote suggests, time is, for the most part, constructed by humans, as each one of us experiences time differently. We are the ones who observe it, and without us, time would be devoid of meaning.

8. “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” - J.R.R. Tolkien

J.R.R. Tolkien is best known as the author of "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings," two of the most popular works of fantasy literature. The quote is by Gandalf, the most famous wizard in literature (apart from maybe Merlin), from the “Fellowship of the Ring” book. 

Not everything is under our control, expert for our actions. And, to make the most out of our time on Earth, we need good time management skills

9. “Better three hours too soon than one minute too late.” - William Shakespeare

This quote from William Shakespeare is taken from “The Merry Wives of Windsor.” It’s a wordier and more beautiful version of the proverb, “Early bird gets the worm.” It means that it’s better to do things early (if you can). Does this make Shakespeare one of the early proponents of time management?

10. “To live is so startling, it leaves little time for anything else.” - Emily Dickinson

This quote is perfect for procrastinators. If you try to focus on it, you'll end up spinning around in circles, for hours, upon hours, upon hours.

11. "Who controls the past, controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.” - George Orwell

In terms of individual experience, this quote refers to the importance of stepping in and taking control of your time. Forming healthy habits in the present can have a great effect on your future.

12. “Time, which changes people, does not alter the image we have of them.” - Marcel Proust

Time changes people, but the change it has on them is not always noticeable or easily observable. Sometimes, change comes from the inside. So, to make a positive change in your life and manage your time more effectively, you might want to try time management software.

13. “Time can be a greedy thing – sometimes it steals the details for itself.” - Khaled Hosseini

14. “The wisest are the most annoyed at the loss of time.” - Dante Alighieri

We only have a limited amount of time on this Earth, so spending your time carelessly without any regard for it is not the wisest thing to do. To ensure you are as efficient with your time as you can possibly be, try out the My Hours timesheet templates.

15. “Punctuality is the thief of time.” - Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde's writing style was humorous and often satirical and explored the complexities of human nature and society. This quote isn’t that. It’s all about hedonism and selfishness and thinking only about yourself without regard for other people, their time, or their feelings – an attutude we don’t encourage.

16. “Enjoy life. There’s plenty of time to be dead.” - Hans Christian Andersen

17. “Time expands, then contracts, all in tune with the stirrings of the heart.” - Haruki Murakami

This quote is about love and spending time with that special person whose presence can make the world stand still and time behave erratically.  

18. “Time will explain.” - Jane Austen

Simple and yet extremely effective, as you would expect from the amazing Jane Austen. Things that now seem so elusive can and will become clear over time. 

19. “All great achievements require time.” - Maya Angelou

To achieve greatness, you need to put in the work, and that requires time. Nothing good is accomplished with no effort. (Except for Penicillin. That one managed to slip through the cracks.)

8 Famous Quotes About Time From Antiquity 

Ancient times it’s not all about beautiful architecture, wondrous artifacts, and historical events. It’s also about questioning the human experience, exploring profound thoughts, and thinking about the passage of time. 

To prove it, here are some of the most enticing quotes about time written down during this truly fascinating era in human history.

1. “Time is a game played beautifully by children.” - Heraclitus

2. “Time is a physician that heals every grief.” - Diphilus

3. “Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away.” - Marcus Aurelius

4. “Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.” - Theophrastus

5. “Time is the wisest counselor of all.” - Pericles

6. “Time is a sort of river of passing events, which, as it flows, carries us along with it.” - Seneca

7. “Time is not a thing, thus nothing can be destroyed.” - Anaximander

8. “To do two things at once is to do neither.” - Publius Syrus

11 Time Quotes About Human Experience

1. “Time, as far as my father was concerned, was a gift you gave to other people.” - Michelle Obama

2. “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 

3. “If you're lost, you can look and you will find me, time after time” - Cyndi Lauper

4. “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” - Mother Teresa

5. “There is a time for work and a time for love. That leaves no other time.” - Coco Chanel

6. “There is never a time or place for true love. It happens accidentally, in a heartbeat, in a single flashing, throbbing moment.” - Sarah Dessen

7. “If I Could Turn Back Time” - Cher 

8. “Time has a wonderful way of showing us what really matters.” - Margaret Peters

9. “Time is a great healer but a terrible beautician.” - Dorothy Parker

10. “Time is a great storyteller.” - Margaret Atwood

11. “Time is a thief to rob us of our former selves.” - Elizabeth Smart

16 Quotes About Time Management

1. “Time is money.” - Benjamin Franklin

Probably one of the most famous quotes of all time, about time, period. This quote actually has a lot more meaning now than it ever had in the 18th century. The world is moving faster, and it takes incredible effort to stay on top of everything. 

2. “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

According to American psychiatrist M. Scott Peck, you need to value yourself before you start appreciating your time a bit more. Good time management begins with acknowledging your self-worth and recognizing that time is the most important weapon in your arsenal.

3. “He who every morning plans the transactions of that day and follows that plan carries a thread that will guide him through the labyrinth of the most busy life.” - Victor Hugo

Today, losing even just a couple of hours a week can make or break your career. So, it's more important now than ever to efficiently manage your time. If you need any help with it or are unsure how to go about it, check out My Hours. We aim to help. 

4. “Your greatest asset is your earning ability. Your greatest resource is your time.” - Brian Tracy 

5. “Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.” - Zig Ziglar

The meaning of this quote is simple, yet there’s a lot of weight behind it. We all have the same amount of time available to us and need direction to achieve our goals. Lack of direction can lead to wasting time on unimportant things or things that don’t add any value to our lives. 

6. “It's not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?” - Henry David Thoreau

This quote is a reminder to think about the things we are doing, as opposed to just doing them for the sake of it. Is our work improving the quality of our lives, and is there a way to perform our tasks more efficiently? 

7. “The shorter way to do many things is to only do one thing at a time.” - Mozart

A bane of all multitaskers, coming from the mouth of one of the most famous musical geniuses of all time – do one thing at a time. When people multitask, they often lose focus and end up not finishing any of their tasks. 

8. “Don't be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of. One man gets only a week's value out of a year while another man gets a full year's value out of a week.” - Charles Richards

9. “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!” - Tony Robbins

This quote once again puts a strong emphasis on time management as a way to reach for the stars. But to do that, you must first know how long it will take you to leave the orbit, reach the Moon, and so forth. In other words, you can only set accurate and achievable goals when you’ve completely understood how to spend your time effectively.

10. “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” - Abraham Lincoln

Although it might seem like Abraham Lincoln is trying to push procrastination as a way of life, this quote is actually about planning and being effective in any of your undertakings.

Whatever it is you do, you should first take care of yourself, your body, and your mind. Eat healthy foods, get enough sleep and exercise, and your work performance will improve significantly.

11. “The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.” - Mike Murdock 

Everything takes time, effort, and consistency. How you act today will have a huge effect on your future. If you put in more hours at work and meet your deadlines, you might get that promotion you’ve been gunning for. Invest time, plan, and act upon it, and you will reap the benefits in the future. 

12. “Take care of the minutes and the hours will take care of themselves.” - Lord Chesterfield

Sometimes looking at the big picture can cause us to lose track of smaller details. By focusing on things/work at hand, we will inevitably reach that “big picture,” whatever that may be in your case. 

13. “Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still.” - Chinese proverb

14. “Tough times never last, but tough people do.” - Robert H. Schuller

Tough times are hard, but they can ultimately make people stronger. Think of every situation in your life where you had to dig deep. Did that make you a better person, co-worker, or friend? If it did, then this quote applies to you.

15. “Time is really the only capital that any human being has, and the only thing he can't afford to lose.” - Thomas Edison 

16. “Time is an equal opportunity employer. Each human being has exactly the same number of hours and minutes every day. Rich people can't buy more hours. Scientists can't invent new minutes. And you can't save time to spend it on another day.” - Denis Waitley

11 Quotes about Time and Leisure

To fully enjoy our lives, we need to relax and do things that make us happy, too. It can’t be all about work, work, work. Here are some quotes about time and taking a respite:

1. “Time is a companion that goes with us on a journey. It reminds us to cherish each moment, because it will never come again.” - Jean-Luc Picard

2. “There’s only one thing more precious than our time and that’s who we spend it on.” - Leo Christopher

3. "I am not particularly interested in saving time; I prefer to enjoy it.” - Eduardo Galeano

4. “Time you enjoy wasted was not time wasted.” - John Lennon

5. “What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare.” - W.H. Davies

6. “It's not a man's working hours that is important, it is how he spends his leisure time.” - Marilynne Robinson

7. “Certainly work is not always required of a man. There is such a thing as a sacred idleness, the cultivation of which is now fearfully neglected.” - George Mac Donald

8. “Work is only justified by leisure time. To admit the emptiness of leisure time is to admit the impossibility of life.” - Guy Debord

9. “If you are losing your leisure, look out! - It may be you are losing your soul.” - Virginia Woolf

10. “To resist the social pressure now put even on one's leisure time, requires a tougher upbringing and a more obstinate willfulness about going one's own way, than ever before.” - Robert Graves 

11. “As work weeks get longer and leisure time shrinks, people are becoming sicker, more distracted, absent, unproductive, and less innovative.” - Brigid Schulte

11 Quotes About Uncontrollable Time 

1. “Time is a teacher, but it kills all its pupils.” - Hector Berlioz

2. “Time is a circus, always packing up and moving away.” - Ben Hecht

3. “Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” - William Penn

4. “Time is the most undefinable yet paradoxical of things; the past is gone, the future is not come, and the present becomes the past even while we attempt to define it, and, like the flash of lightning, at once exists and expires.” - Charles Caleb Colton

5. ”Time is a dressmaker specializing in alterations.” - Faith Baldwin

6. “Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.” - Douglas Adams

7. “Time is a thief, stealing moments we can never regain.” - J.R. Ward

8. “An inch of time is an inch of gold, but you can’t buy that inch of time with an inch of gold.” - Chinese Proverb

9. “Time is what keeps everything from happening at once.” - Ray Cummings

10. “Own time, or time will own you.” - Brian Norgard

11. “How did it get so late so soon? It's night before it's afternoon. December is here before it's June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?” - Dr. Seuss

8 Quotes About Not Wasting Time

1. “We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.” - Nelson Mandela

2. “Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much can be done if we are always doing.” - Thomas Jefferson

3. “There’s time enough, but none to spare.” - Charles W. Chesnutt

4. “Time is the least thing we have of.” - Ernest Hemingway

5. “Time stays long enough for anyone who will use it.” - Leonardo da Vinci

6. “If one has no time, one has also lost oneself.” - Marc Wittmann

7. “Regret for wasted time is more wasted time.” - Mason Cooley

8. “If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.” - Bruce Lee

6 Quotes About Time and Love

1. “If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you.” - A.A. Milne 

2. “Love and time, those are the only two things in all the world and all of life that cannot be bought, but only spent.” - Gary Jennings

3. “Nothing heals like love and time.” - Suzi Quatro

4. “I would rather spend one lifetime with you than face all the ages of this world alone.” - J.R.R. Tolkien

5. “Love is like an hourglass, with the heart filling up as the brain empties.” - Jules Renard

6. “I would rather live and love where death is king than have eternal life where love is not.” - Robert Green Ingersoll

7 Short Quotes About Time

1. “Time is a dimension, like the dimensions of space.” - Stephen Hawking

2. “Time is a created thing. To live in the past is as stubborn as living in the future.” - Dale Carnegie

3. “Time is the school in which we learn, time is the fire in which we burn.” - Delmore Schwartz

4. “Time is a file that wears and makes no noise.” - English Proverb

5. “The most precious resource we all have is time.” - Steve Jobs

6. “No man goes before his time. Unless the boss leaves early.” - Groucho Marx

7. “Time and tide wait for no man, but time always stands still for a woman of 30.” - Robert Frost

10 Inspirational Quotes About Time

1. “A man who dares to waste an hour of time has not discovered the value of life.” - Charles Darwin

2. “There’s never enough time to do it right, but there’s always enough time to do it over.” - Jack Bergman

3. ”Time isn’t the main thing. It’s the only thing.” - Miles Davis

4. “It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.” - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

5. “Time itself comes in drops.” - William James

6. “I don't need time, I need a deadline.” - Duke Ellington

7. “We must use time as a tool, not as a couch.” - John F. Kennedy

8. “We shouldn't waste time on things that might happen someday, or maybe even never.” - Colleen Hoover

9. “Clocks slay time... time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life.” - William Faulkner

10. “You can’t turn back the clock. But you can wind it up again.” - Bonnie Prudden

8 Quotes About Time From Unknown Authors

There are some quotes about time whose authors can not be identified. These quotes survived mostly thanks to folklore and the profound meaning they held and still do.

They have inspired many generations of humans throughout the centuries and continue to offer infinite wisdom to people who truly take the time to study and understand them.

1. “Time has no meaning when you’re in love.” 

2. “Time is precious. Make sure you spend it with the right people.”

3. “Time waits for no one.” 

4. “I wish I could turn back the clock and find you sooner so I can love you longer.” 

5. “The few hours I spend with you are worth the thousand hours I spend without you.” 

6. “Time holds all the secrets.” 

7. “Your future is created by what you do today, not tomorrow.” 

8. “Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week.”