I just learned a German proverb:

"Was du heute kannst besorgen, das verschiebe nicht auf morgen,"

which can be translated as:

"Whatever you can do today, don't postpone it to tomorrow"

Is there a 成语 or 古语 which has the same meaning? I might use it in the context of encouraging someone to not procrastinate.

  • web search using "关于拖延的成语" will yield many 成语 expressing procrastination in different words, Linguee: There's no time like the present. jukuu: 机不可失,时不再来。 Procrastination is the thief of time.拖延为时间之贼
    – user6065
    Jul 20 '17 at 19:56

"Whatever you can do today, don't postpone it to tomorrow"

  1. This common Chinese saying may had the same origin as the quote in the question:


"Don't put off till tomorrow what you can do today."

This phrase is so common, it is in grade school textbooks

variant: 今日事今日做

  1. The idiom 坐言起行 express a similar sentiment in a stronger sense.


Once decided, act immediately; When plan is formulated, implement it without delay

  1. There's also a common Chinese expression expressing the similar sentiment

"有花堪折直須折, (莫待無花空折枝)"

"Pick the flower when it is time , (don't wait til there's no flower but stem left to be picked.)"

Original poem:




作者: 杜秋娘

Gold Linen Jacket (seven words Yuefu poem)

"You should not cherish gold linen jacket, you should cherish youthful days."

"Pick flower when it blooms, don't wait til there's no flower but stem left to be picked."

Author: Du Qiuniang

Side note :

A completely opposite sentiment expressed in another poem is also very famous.


"Drink when you have wine today, (worry about tomorrow's problems when tomorrow comes)"

Original poem:






Here 今日 means "today's" or "... of today". 事 means things in general, and 毕 means finish. So altogether, it means, literally but somewhat awkward in English, "Finish the things to be done today within today".


明日复明日, 明日何其多.

我生待明日, 万事成蹉跎.

Tomorrow and tomorrow, tomorrow there are too many.

I wait for tomorrow all my life, and all things can not be done.

明日歌, A famous poem written 钱鹤滩



Today and today, today is too less. Not do it today, when will be done

今日诗, written by 文嘉

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