10 Productivity Proverbs to Help You Get More Done

10 Productivity Proverbs to Help You Get More DoneDo you want to be motivated to do your work?

Are you looking for some good old fashioned, practical, and no-nonsense advice?

In this post, I present ten of my favorite proverbs about work and getting things done.

For those not in the know, a proverb is a collection of words, or a saying, with a practical lesson to be learned or heeded.

Sadly, proverbs are not as popular as they were years ago.

This is unfortunate because the lessons proverbs teach about everyday life and work habits are truly priceless.

These short and sweet statements really do sum up the ways of the world and the human condition quite nicely.

You can apply the sayings to pretty much any situation in life, be it a work, career, school, or personal issue.

In fact, you might even say that proverbs are the original productivity tips.


A stitch in time saves nine.

This is one of my favorite proverbs. If you catch a problem or a situation at the right point in time and take care of it promptly, and you’ll save yourself from lots of work and/or headaches in future.

A watched pot never boils.

The more time you spend focusing intently over something, the more time it will take (or at least seem to take) for said item to be resolved. Sometimes you have to let things take care of themselves…and do something else in the meantime.

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

You’ve got to make the most of what you have in your life right here, right now. The value of what you have right now is greater than that which is slightly, or completely, out of your reach.

Don’t put the cart before the horse.

It doesn’t make sense to try to do things out of sequence; your results won’t be very fruitful. There is a certain order that must be followed whether you’re dealing with carts and horses, or thoughts, data, and presentations.

Make hay while the sun shines.

There’s a time and a place for everything. You should take advantage of conditions when they are right for the work you want to do. Conditions can quickly change from one moment to the next, so you’d better get to it!

Haste makes waste.

Working quickly and sloppily isn’t the best way to get things done. You’ll not only waste your time and effort, but you may also needlessly waste money, materials, or other people’s time. Slow down and take your time.

Don’t put off to tomorrow what you can do today.

What’s the difference between doing something today versus tomorrow? Perhaps the only thing that stands between you and finishing your work is procrastination, resentment, or unavoidable delays. Whatever your situation may be, time is of the essence. Tomorrow will be today before you know it. Take action today.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

It’s tempting to put all your energies and efforts into one main container, project or basket. Should there be even the slightest of problems, you’re going to have to spend time dealing with errors and the consequences. Consider making a contingency plan or two in case things don’t go as planned.

The squeaking wheel gets the oil.

Quick question: do you fix items that aren’t broken? Of course not! You leave them as-in. It’s more important (and productive) to turn your attention and focus to items and situations that actually need your time, energy, and resources.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

If you do nothing, you get nothing. You might as well get out there and make, do, or create something. You’ll never know how things might turn out if you don’t give it a try

How about you? What are your favorite proverbs and why? Do you have any favorites you’d like to share here with others? Join in the conversation and leave a comment below!

A version of this post appeared on the blog in 2014.

Follow Rashelle:
Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.
Latest posts from