190 Productivity Quotes to Get Things Done

190 Productivity Quotes to Get Things Done (and Live Better)

June 20, 2020

This post contains 190 productivity quotes hand picked to inspire you to get things done. 

I group the quotes under important pillars of productivity to make it easy for you to find the ones that fit your need.

It contains image quotes you can share on Pinterest. I've also made them tweet-able so you can post them to your Twitter.

Enjoy! 

Quotes that Define Productivity

In this section, let's explore the quotes that define what productivity is (and what it is not). 

My view on productivity is that it takes hard work and serious commitment. Focus is another very important foundation. These requires so much energy you might lead an imbalanced life if you don't know how to take proper breaks, rest and sleep. 

In fact, rest and sleep are so important I say:

If you want to be productive tomorrow, make sure you can sleep well tonight. 

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However, for productivity to last, we must turn it into a habit or series of habits. For example, you can make it a habit to check email only a few times a day to boost your email productivity.  

Meditation should also be another habit to adopt for a more satisfying journey of productive work and life.

Well, enjoy the quotes that capture the essence of productivity. 

“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” ~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

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If you want to be productive, you must be committed to the work you do, plan it well and act on it.

The ability to act fearlessly despite the discomfort and fears of uncertainty is also the essence of productivity especially if it is a difficult task or one of which you are unsure of the outcome. 

For me, writing a productivity book is a good example. I haven't been productive enough because I have not been able to face my fear of producing something that others do not value. 

“Productivity is being able to do things that you were never able to do before.” ~Franz Kafka, writer

“Productivity is being able to do things that you were never able to do before.” ~Franz Kafka

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“Efficiency is doing things right. Effectiveness is doing the right things.” ~Peter Drucker

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“Effective performance is preceded by painstaking preparation” ~ Brian Tracy

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“There is no substitute for hard work.” ~Thomas Edison

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“Working on the right thing is probably more important than working hard.” ~Caterina Fake

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“Don’t confuse the urgent with the important.” ~Preston Ni

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Being productive is not enough. The question to ask yourself is this:

What are you productive in? Where will this take you a month, a year, and a decade from now?

It's ok to be productive in what needs to get done. But also be sure to be productive in what that matters to you. 

“Don’t confuse the urgent with the important.” ~ Preston Ni

“In a society that judges self-worth on productivity, it’s no wonder we fall prey to the misconception that the more we do, the more we’re worth”  ~Ellen Sue Stern

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“Improved productivity means less human sweat, not more.” ~Henry Ford

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“Improved productivity means less human sweat, not more.” ~Henry Ford

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“The way we measure productivity is flawed. People checking their BlackBerry over dinner is not the measure of productivity.” ~Timothy Ferriss

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“The simple act of paying positive attention to people has a great deal to do with productivity.” ~Tom Peters

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Motivation gets you started; it is habits that get us going. ~Jim Rohn

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The feeling that any task is a nuisance will soon disappear if it is done in mindfulness. ~Thích Nhất Hạnh

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In the midst of overwhelm and chaos, breathe... and meditate. Only a still mind can bring out the best in you. ~Samphy

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We try to stop work overload by being productive. But as it turns out, being overly productive can also leave us exhausted. This happens a lot when you get in the state of flow and go long hours without a break. 

It's amazing how taking a pause to breathe and meditate can alleviate our emotions that are caused by the overwhelm and chaos.    

Productivity Quotes to Beat Procrastination

Procrastination is the number one enemy of productivity. In fact, people even unconsciously take beating procrastination for being productive. 

This is partly true and the first and most important step towards becoming more productive.

Let's dive in.   

The superior man is modest in his speech but exceeds in his actions. ~ Confucius

The superior man is modest in his speech but exceeds in his actions. ~Confucius

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You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great. ~ Joe Sabah

You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great. ~Joe Sabah

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“Action is the foundational key to all success.” ~ Picasso

“Action is the foundational key to all success.” ~Picasso

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It takes two things to take actions: motivation or habit. Action is both the cause and effect of productivity. 

To be productive, you need to take action. But to take action, you must commit to being productive. 

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” ~Walt Disney

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“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” ~Stephen King

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What I'd add is this:

Action is both the cause and effect of inspiration. 

So next time, you feel uninspired. Just do something. Make it so small and easy to do.  

“We have a strategic plan. It’s called doing things.” ~Herb Kelleher

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“You see, in life, lots of people know what to do, but few people actually do what they know. Knowing is not enough! You must take action.” ~Tony Robbins

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Take action on your knowledge. In fact, that's what knowledge is for. 

“The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today.” ~Nolan Bushnell

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“It’s not knowing what to do, it’s doing what you know.” ~Tony Robbins

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"Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you." ~Thomas Jefferson

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"Never mistake motion for action." ~Earnest Hemingway

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This really hits home for me. I chose to make the text size so large. When faced with difficult task, we often go around it, instead of going through it. When it's time I have to sit down to write a book, I find myself researching, reading or even reaching out for my phone or checking emails. It happens so subtly under the radar of my consciousness. 

This is motion, not action! An action in this scenario would be to just sit my butt down and... write, or stay with the discomfort of not knowing what to write.  

"The secret of getting ahead is getting started" ~Mark Twain

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"Worrying gets you nowhere. If you turn up worrying about how you’re going to perform, you’ve already lost." ~Usain Bolt

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“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

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This is another great quote to beat procrastination where I would like to add my comment. It's necessary to prepare but oftentimes when faced with a difficult task (usually one that matters most for us), we tend to over-prepare. 

“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.” ~George Bernard Shaw

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“Following-through is the only thing that separates dreamers from people that accomplish great things.” ~Gene Hayden

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Time Management Quotes for Work Productivity

Time management is a very important pillar for work productivity. In fact, you can't be productive if you can't even manage your time well. 

Before I thought that to manage time effectively, I had to say no to what other people want me to do, but it turns out is that that is not enough, you must also have the guts to say no to what you want to do should you have time to do what matters to you. 

We have less money than your Mark Zuckerbrg and Jack Ma but we have the same amount of time each day as they do. That's why we say:

Time is wealth. ~Cambodian proverb

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“Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.” ~Peter Drucker

“Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.” ~Peter

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While some productivity experts tell you to manage your attention, not time, as a lifelong student of productivity I can say that time management is important. 

There are just so many things to accomplish in a day. If you don't manage your time, you won't be able to effectively manage your daily tasks. You can't just do what you want to do. There are also things that you need to do. 

“Lost time is never found again.” ~Benjamin Franklin

“Lost time is never found again.” ~Benjamin Franklin

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“Being rich is having money; being wealthy is having time.” ~Margaret Bonnano

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“Few ever lived to old age, and fewer still ever became distinguished, who were not in the habit of early rising.” ~John Todd

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“I would have it inscribed on the curtains of your bed and the walls of your chamber: “If you do not rise early you can make progress in nothing.” ~William Pitt Chatham

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“It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom” ~Aristotle

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“Time is the scarcest resource and unless it is managed nothing else can be managed” ~Peter Drucker

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“If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.” ~Bruce Lee

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“When one has much to put into them, a day has a hundred pockets.” ~Friedrich Nietzsche

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“If you commit to giving more time than you have to spend, you will constantly be running from time debt collectors.” ~Elizabeth Grace Saunders

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

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

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‘If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done’ ~Bruce Lee

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“You may delay, but time will not.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

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‘You’ve gotta keep control of your time, and you can’t unless you say no. You can’t let people set your agenda in life’ ~Warren Buffet

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“He that rises late must trot all day” ~Benjamin Franklin

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“Time is at once the most valuable and the most perishable of all our possessions” ~John Randolph

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“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

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Time is what we want most, but what we use worst. ~William Penn

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Even the most productive people have days when they don't spend time effectively. Spending time effectively doesn't have to be all work and it should NOT be. Rest can make us more productive (and creative too). Time with family is necessary. 


"Do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of." ~Benjamin Franklin.
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Productivity Quotes to Manage Attention Better

Attention management is another vital dimension of productivity. You might schedule your priorities, beat your procrastination and act but if your attention isn't focused on the task at hand, your chance to achieve excellent work will be slim. 

The quotes in this section offer wisdom to focus your attention on the task you are working on. 


“Focus on being productive instead of busy.” ~Tim Ferriss
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This is simple but we often forget! We might be busy checking and replying to emails. Preparation for a meeting might take the whole day (including the mental preparation) leading to the actual meeting, leaving no time for nothing else. 

“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work in hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.” ~ Alexander Graham Bell

“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work in hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.” ~Alexander Graham Bell

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“It is not enough to be busy… The question is: what are we busy about?” ~Henry David Thoreau

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“The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.” ~Carlos Castaneda
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“To think is easy. To act is difficult. To act as one thinks is the most difficult.” ~Johann Wolfgang Von Goeth
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If you can act according to your priorities, you're productive. 

But sometimes, you just have to act. 


“Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.” ~David Allen
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This is great quote by the productivity expert David Allen, from his bestselling book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. Based on this premise, David proposed that we should have a system to capture our tasks for effective processing.  


“If you don’t pay appropriate attention to what has your attention, it will take more of your attention than it deserves.” ~David Allen
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“If you don’t pay appropriate attention to what has your attention, it will take more of your attention than it deserves.” ~David Allen
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“Part of being a winner is knowing when enough is enough. Sometimes you have to give up the fight and walk away, and move on to something that’s more productive.” ~ Donald Trump

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“There is no waste in the world that equals the waste from needless, ill-directed, and ineffective motions.” ~ Frank Bunker Gilbreth, Sr.

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“I always had the uncomfortable feeling that if I wasn’t sitting in front of a computer typing, I was wasting my time — but I pushed myself to take a wider view of what was “productive.” Time spent with my family and friends was never wasted.” ~ Gretchen Rubin

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This is a reminder that being productive should not mean taking away attention from our family. Balance between work and family is very important to live a happy life. In fact, if you're happy at home, you'll be happy at work. This makes productivity easier for you. 

Of course, it's not easy sometimes but being aware of it is the first important step forward.  

“If you are interested in balancing work and pleasure, stop trying to balance them. Instead make your work more pleasurable.” ~ Donald Trump

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“To the degree we’re not living our dreams; our comfort zone has more control of us than we have over ourselves.” ~Peter McWilliams

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“Stressing output is the key to improving to productivity, while looking to increase activity can result in just the opposite.” ~Andrew Grove

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"Stars don’t beg the world for attention; their beauty forces us to look up." ~Matshona Dhliwayo

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The question to ask:

Can we make this task shine like a star? 

Certain tasks are easy to shine. Others are not and you must make it shine. 

“Habits determine what attention is placed upon.” ~Steven Redhead

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“If there are nine rabbits on the ground, if you want to catch one, just focus on one.” ~ Jack Ma

“If there are nine rabbits on the ground, if you want to catch one, just focus on one.” ~Jack Ma

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Focus Quotes to Boost Productivity 

Productivity requires a great deal of focus. While attention and focus are synonymous, they are different. 

Rass Bariaw put it so nicely in his answer on Quora

"Attention means directing your mind from random or undisciplined thinking towards a specific thought (or thoughts) or action (or actions). Focus is attention but, focus includes a concentrated form of attention, where tremendous effort is exerted to heighten and enhance the attention given."

Now that we have laid out the differences, enjoy the productivity quotes for better focus. 

“It’s not always that we need to do more but rather that we need to focus on less.” ~Nathan W. Morris

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“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work in hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.” ~ Alexander Graham Bell

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“My goal is no longer to get more done, but rather to have less to do.” ~Francine Jay

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Productivity isn't so much about getting a lot done but rather getting a few right things done, right. 

“Focus on being productive instead of busy.” ~ Tim Ferriss

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"Art is the elimination of the unnecessary." ~Pablo Picasso

"Art is the elimination of the unnecessary." ~Pablo Picasso

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This applies not just in art but also productivity. In fact, the less we have to do, the happier we could get and the better we can become at our craft!  

"All things will be produced in superior quantity and quality, and with greater ease, when each man works… without meddling with anything else." ~Plato

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“You must remain focused on your journey to greatness.” ~ Les Brown

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“Think of many things; do one.” ~ Portuguese proverb

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“A lot of the best work I’ve ever done started out as something completely different because I gave myself permission to have space around my time and expectations.” ~ Merlin Mann

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“A lot of the best work I’ve ever done started out as something completely different because I gave myself permission to have space around my time and expectations.” ~ Merlin Mann

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“The desire of knowledge, like the thirst for riches, increases ever with the acquisition of it.” ~ Laurence Sterne

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

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So true and self-explanatory. People always make time for what matters to them... if their why is clear. 

Flow Quotes to Awaken Creativity

Flow, focus and attention management are similar but while it requires efforts to focus and manage our attention, flow refers to the state of effortless focus on our task. 

You experience flow especially when you do what you love. But there are also ways you can use to cultivate this state of mind, which could require an entire post. 

For now, enjoy the wisdom from these quotes on flow to boost productivity.

“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” ~Alan Wilson Watts

“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” ~Alan Wilson Watts

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But why is it so important to make sense of change? 

It's not important. Change is just inevitable. In fact, it's the only thing that is stable in the world. It happens all the time whether you want it or not. 

Honestly, I really think that adapting to change should be a personal value that all of us should adopt to not get worked up.  

“Energy flows where intention goes.” Rhonda Byrne

“Energy flows where intention goes.” ~Rhonda Byrne

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“May what I do flow from me like a river, no forcing and no holding back, the way it is with children.” ~Rainer Maria Rilke

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“Those who flow as life flows know they need no other force.” ~Lao Tzu

“Those who flow as life flows know they need no other force.” ~Lao Tzu

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“Let it come. Let it go. Let it flow.” ~Anonymous

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“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” ~Lao Tzu

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“Unleash your creative energy and let it flow. Relish the possibilities.” ~Nita Leland

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“You must let life flow naturally, for life’s secret is patience; you must stop pushing for change and allow things to unfold.” ~Leon Brown

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“Enjoyment appears at the boundary between boredom and anxiety, when the challenges are just balanced with the person's capacity to act.” ~Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

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"Go with the flow. Force nothing. Let it happen… trusting that whichever way it goes, it's for the best." ~Mandy Hale

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Habits Quotes for Productive People

Habit is an essential pillar for productivity. Meditation, taking breaks after 30 minutes, Inbox Zero, mastering OneNote... are a few habits to boost productivity. 

Unless you sell on social media, checking Facebook and instant messaging constantly throughout the day is, for most of us, a productivity killer.  

“I have learned that champions aren’t just born; champions can be made when they embrace and commit to life-changing positive habits.” ~Lewis Howes

“I have learned that champions aren’t just born; champions can be made when they embrace and commit to life-changing positive habits.” ~Lewis Howes

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"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." ~Aristotle

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“Sometimes, things may not go your way, but the effort should be there every single night.” ~Michael Jordan

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"Motivation gets you started; it is habits that get us going." ~Jim Rohn

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"Habit is stronger than reason." ~George Santayana

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"Cultivate only the habits that you are willing should master you." ~Elbert Hubbard 

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“Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all time thing. You don’t win once in a while, you don’t do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.” ~ Vince Lombardi

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Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. ~Aristotle

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“Depending on what they are, our habits will either make us or break us. We become what we repeatedly do.” ~Sean Covey

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“It is easier to prevent bad habits than to break them.” ~Benjamin Franklin

“It is easier to prevent bad habits than to break them.” ~Benjamin Franklin

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It took me 12 weeks to quit smoking! More importantly, I can still remember vividly what it felt like when I craved for a cigaret. In fact, that feeling is even making a comeback as I am writing this very sentence although I quit for more than six years.

“Good habits are worth being fanatical about.” ―John Irving

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“Successful people aren’t born that way. They become successful by establishing the habit of doing things unsuccessful people don’t like to do.” ―William Makepeace Thackeray

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“You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” ―John C. Maxwell

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“Change might not be fast and it isn't always easy. But with time and effort, almost any habit can be reshaped.” ― Charles Duhigg

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“Change might not be fast and it isn't always easy. But with time and effort, almost any habit can be reshaped.” ~Charles Duhigg

Charles Duhigg's bestselling book The Power of Habits: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business is one of the best books on the topic of habit. And I love this quote in particular.

Good habits are hard to shape and easy to slip. I've developed a few of these habits myself such as reading, writing and meditation. It took me years to cultivate them but only a few misses are all it takes to forget them.

However, what I've learned from my own habit experiments is that habits, good or back, will make a comeback when the conditions are right. 

Planning Quotes to Make Us More Productive  

Proper daily planning could improve productivity. While all plans list what to do, they should also inform us about what NOT to do. 

Enjoy these planning quotes to get wisdom for better productivity.  

“Simplicity boils down to two steps: Identify the essential. Eliminate the rest.” Leo Babauta

“Simplicity boils down to two steps: Identify the essential. Eliminate the rest.” Leo Babauta

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Leo of Zen Habits is my teacher. His Fearless Training Program has enabled me to train with uncertainty and get off my butt to read, write and meditate daily. 

Planning does not have to be sophisticated. It must not include everything if you are to achieve your state of focus and flow. 

Of course it's important to capture everything that requires our attention but always do your most important tasks, MITs, day in and day out. 

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” ~ Stephen Covey

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” ~Stephen Covey

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“Do the hard jobs first. The easy jobs will take care of themselves.” ~Dale Carnegie

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“The tragedy in life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach.” ~Benjamin E. Mays

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“You don’t need a new plan for next year. You need a commitment.” Seth Godin

“You don’t need a new plan for next year. You need a commitment.” ~Seth Godin

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“No matter how great the talent or efforts, some things just take time. You can’t produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant.” ~Warren Buffett

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“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

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"The key is in not spending time, but in investing it." ~Stephen R. Covey

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"Take care of the minutes and the hours will take care of themselves." ~Lord Chesterfield

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“Life is too complicated not to be orderly.” ~ Martha Stewart

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I find this to be so true. When I don't plan, I procrastinate more, watch Netflix, and scroll through my endless social media feeds.  

“Long-range planning works best in the short term.” ~ Doug Evelyn

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"Don’t count the days. Make the days count." ~Muhammad Ali

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“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” ~Benjamin Franklin

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Continuous Improvement Quotes to Take Productivity to the Next Level

Productivity does not happen in a day. It is a life time of deliberate and mindful practice. There are days it is easier than others but it does not tend to come easily at all. 

So, check out these continuous quotes to take your productivity to the next level.  

“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” ~Albert Einstein

“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” ~Albert Einstein

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A few days ago, I asked five of my best friends what I am good at as I was in the process of creating a product. 

I was surprised two of them said that I am a fast learner

I'm not sure sure about that but I do know that I have the ability to stay with problems I care about far much longer than most people. 

“You see, in life, lots of people know what to do, but few people actually do what they know. Knowing is not enough! You must take action.” ~Tony Robbins

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“Follow effective actions with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.” ~Peter Drucker

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Reflection doesn't have to be all day out in the jungle. While this is important once in a while, you can make it a habit to pause every hour, breathe and... reflect.  

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” ~Charles Darwin

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"It is no good getting furious if you get stuck. What I do is keep thinking about the problem but work on something else." ~Stephen Hawking

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"It is no good getting furious if you get stuck. What I do is keep thinking about the problem but work on something else." ~Stephen Hawking

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“While one person hesitates because he feels inferior, the other is busy making mistakes and becoming superior.” ~Henry Link

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“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

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Mindfulness and Meditation Quote for Effortless Productivity

Mindfulness and meditation make productivity less effortful. They help focus our mind and let us flow with the task we're working on. 

You can also achieve the state of calm and clarity that are so crucial to tap into our creative mind for the work that we do. 

In fact, in order to achieve stress-free productivity, meditation is a must. 

The feeling that any task is a nuisance will soon disappear if it is done in mindfulness. ~Thích Nhất Hạnh

"The feeling that any task is a nuisance will soon disappear if it is done in mindfulness." ~Thích Nhất Hạnh

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That's why mindfulness is so important for your productivity journey (and in life). Meditation is useful but just paying attention to your breath for a minute can help.

"When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another – and ourselves." ~Jack Kornfield

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"Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing." ~Jon Kabat-Zinn

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"To think in terms of either pessimism or optimism oversimplifies the truth. The problem is to see reality as it is." ~Thích Nhất Hạnh

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"Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth." ~Pema Chödrön

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That’s life: starting over, one breath at a time. ~Sharon Salzberg

"That’s life: starting over, one breath at a time." ~Sharon Salzberg

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"You cannot control the results, only your actions." ~Allan Lokos

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"If you are facing in the right direction, all you need to do is keep on walking." ~Buddha

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If you don't feel right, ask yourself:

Am I productive for what? Is it important for me? What do I value most in life? 

If you know your life values, productivity will be much easier. 

If you are facing in the right direction, all you need to do is keep on walking. ~Buddha

Productivity Tool Quotes to Get Things Done 

Yes, tools are important to be productive. OneNote, an email client, the apps you use, even your iPhone... are the tools you need to master. 

An important insight I'd like to share before you dive into the quotes about productivity tools is this: you must use the right tools, right.

Alright, enjoy the wisdom! 

The mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools. ~Confucius

The mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools. ~Confucius

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What productivity tools are you using? Pick the tools that work for you and the kind of work that you do and really master how to use them. 

For example, if you want to manage your time, you might want to try BeFocused Pro. For email, Spark will be great. 

My point:

Pick the tools and master them! 

That said, mastery should not take too much time you can't do the actual work! 

“Computers are useless. They can only give you answers.” ~Pablo Picasso

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“A man's nothing without his tools.” ~Kathy Reichs

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“To the man who only has a hammer, everything he encounters begins to look like a nail.” ~Abraham Maslow

“To the man who only has a hammer, everything he encounters begins to look like a nail.” ~Abraham Maslow

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“Accept yourself, your strengths, your weaknesses, your truths, and know what tools you have to fulfill your purpose.” ~Steve Maraboli

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“Guns are the tools of the poorly educated.” ~Steven Magee

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“It may not be the problem that's the problem. Rather, the problem might be the tool that I'm using to try and solve the problem.” ~Craig D. Lounsbrough

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"Men have become the tools of their tools." ~Henry David Thoreau

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"Man must shape his tools lest they shape him." ~Arthur Miller

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It's important to learn to use your tools but watch out for when you might fall victim to your desire to learn so much you fail to act. 

Man must shape his tools lest they shape him. ~Arthur Miller

The Best Quotes for Productivity Mindset

Mindset is the very first place for mental mastery. Think and Grow Rich is a classic manifesto for this.

These quotes could help you think and become productive!

“You can fool everyone else, but you can’t fool your own mind.” ~David Allen

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“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” Albert Einstein

“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” ~Albert Einstein

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Steve Jobs

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“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”


Steve Jobs

“Why do anything unless it is going to be great?” ~Peter Block

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“Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it.” ~Stephen Hawking

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For all of its faults, it gives most hardworking people a chance to improve themselves economically, even as the deck is stacked in favor of the privileged few. Here are the choices most of us face in such a system: Get bitter or get busy. ~Bill O’ Reilly

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“Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, add what is specifically your own.” ~ Bruce Lee

“Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, add what is specifically your own.” ~Bruce Lee

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Now this is an unapologetic reminder that you must add what is your own to whatever you do be it your own business, the projects you do for your clients or in your day job. 

People can be really smart or have skills that are directly applicable, but if they don’t really believe in it, then they are not going to really work hard. ~Mark Zukerberg

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Glory lies in the attempt to reach one’s goal and not in reaching it. ~Mahatma Ghandi

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‘Glory lies in the attempt to reach one’s goal and not in reaching it’ ~Mahatma Ghandi

“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

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“Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right!” ~ Henry Ford

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“The noblest search is the search for excellence.” ~ Lyndon B. Johnson

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“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve. Thoughts are things! And powerful things at that, when mixed with definiteness of purpose, and burning desire, can be translated into riches.” ~ Napoleon Hill

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Sleep and Rest Quotes for Productivity Boost at Work

I always say that to be productive tomorrow, you must sleep well tonight. We all know this but underestimate the power and impact it has on our life. 


Productive people could fall victim to sleep and rest deprivation. They often don't know how to rest! 

“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.” –Sydney Harris

“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.” ~Sydney Harris

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“Being lazy does not mean that you do not create. In fact, lying around doing nothing is an important, nay crucial, part of the creative process. It is meaningless bustle that actually gets in the way of productivity. All we are really saying is, give peace a chance.” ~Tom Hodgkinson

“When sleep puts an end to delirium, it is a good symptom.” ~Hippocrates

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“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.” ~John Lubbock

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“Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.” –William Burroughs

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“Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.” ~Etty Hillesum

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This is so true especially if you meditate regularly. 


In my training, I usually advise my participants pause and take deep breath for a minute when they feel overwhelmed. 


In fact, this is our natural reaction of our body when we get stressed. 

“Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.” –Etty Hillesum

“Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is relax.” ~Mark Black

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“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes…Including you.” –Anne Lamott

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes…Including you.” ~Anne Lamott

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“Your calm mind is the ultimate weapon against your challenges.  So relax.” ~Bryant McGill

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Perfectionism Quotes 

Not only does perfectionism never gets things done but it also feels like dragging a 20 ton shield around with you wherever you go. 


In fact, procrastination is a sign that you are a perfectionistic person


So these quotes below will help remind you to beat procrastination and just get started.

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Wayne Gretzky

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” ~Wayne Gretzky

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

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

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“Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, so go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that’s where you will find success.” ~ Thomas Watson

“The perfect is the enemy of the good.” ~ Voltaire

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"Perfectionism is like a 20 ton shield we lug around, thinking it will protect us, when in fact it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from taking flight." ~Brené Brown

"Perfectionism is like a 20 ton shield we lug around, thinking it will protect us, when in fact it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from taking flight." ~Brené Brown

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This one hits home for me. I tends to overthink and this hinders my ability to act fast. 

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new." ~Albert Einstein

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Fearless Productivity Quotes

Let me begin by defining what I mean about fearlessness. Fearless productivity is, therefore, not the absence of fear but the act of getting moving despite the discomfort and fear.


Productivity takes courage. The more difficult the work is the more fearless you need to be to get things done.  

“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” ~Muhammad Ali

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“Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, add what is specifically your own.” ~Bruce Lee

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It's not enough to do what people want you to do. You have to not do what you want to do. ~Unknown

"It's not enough to do what people want you to do. You have to not do what you want to do." ~Unknown

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“Ordinary people think merely of spending time, great people think of using it.” ~Arthur Schopenhauer

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“The winners in life think constantly in terms of I can, I will, and I am. Losers, on the other hand, concentrate their waking thoughts on what they should have or would have done, or what they can’t do.” ~ Dennis Waitley

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“There is no royal, flower-strewn path to success. And if there is, I have not found it. For if I have accomplished anything in life, it is because I have been willing to work hard.” ~ C.J. Walker

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“Why do anything unless it is going to be great?” ~ Peter Block

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“Nothing is less productive than to make more efficient what should not be done at all.” ~ Peter Drucker

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“Success is often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.” ~ Coco Chanel

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“Early rising not only gives us more life in the same number of years, but adds, likewise, to their number; and not only enables us to enjoy more of existence in the same time, but increases also the measure.” ~ Caleb C. Colton

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“The great accomplishments of man have resulted from the transmission of ideas of enthusiasm.” ~ Thomas J. Watson

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“I like thinking big. If you’re going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big.” ~ Donal Trump

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“Live daringly, boldly, fearlessly. Taste the relish to be found in competition – in having put forth the best within you.” ~ Henry J. Kaiser

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“Both good and bad days should end with productivity. You mood affairs should never influence your work.” ~ Greg Evans

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“The only way around is through.” ~ Robert Frost

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“The easiest way to increase happiness is to control your use of time. Can you find more time to do the things you enjoy doing?” ~Daniel Kahneman

The easiest way to increase happiness is to control your use of time. Can you find more time to do the things you enjoy doing?” ~Daniel Kahneman

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Over to You

That's it for this post. Thanks for reading all the way down here! I hope that you have found some quotes that motivate you to become productive at work and in life. 


Now I'd like to hear from you.


Which ones do you like? Why?


What are quotes did I miss out on?


Leave your comment below. 

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Y Samphy

About the author

I am a business and legal consultant. My former employers and clients include embassies, multinational consulting companies law firms and NGOs. Productivity and self-improvement are at the heart of my career and life. On this website, I want to help you become more productive and live up to your potential. Learn more about me here.


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