I heard a quote

Never Do Yesterday What Should Be Done Tomorrow.

I assume that this means

Whatever you do, there will be tomorrow, so don't do it.

Am I right?

  • I guess it basically means "never do anything too far in advance". Jan 1, 2015 at 3:51
  • 3
    There is a quote "Never do today what you can put off till tomorrow." attributed to Aaron Burr. It means it is best not to act prematurely without necessary consideration. It is the reverse of another quotation "Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today." intended as a prod for procrastinators.
    – user3169
    Jan 1, 2015 at 4:52
  • It's a joke, playing off of the quotes user3169 just mentioned.
    – Ben Kovitz
    Jan 1, 2015 at 6:50
  • Thanks for the comment guys. I completely understood now.
    – ringord
    Jan 1, 2015 at 9:18

6 Answers 6


I see that it has come from a science fiction under the title 'By-Laws of Time'

Well, the perfect example I get in my mind for this quote is 'don't pluck a fruit off the branch before it is ripened'. Said that, you must do things when they are required. Doing those things much in advance makes no sense. Either your efforts will be waste or you may not get results.

  • 2
    While I respectfully applaud your attempt at trying to understand the joke phrase, this is not the correct answer, and should not have been marked as the selected answer by the OP. This answer is misleading. :-) Mar 21, 2015 at 4:05

This is actually a reversed version of the quote "Never do tomorrow what should be done today." The original quote was reversed for a movie about going back in time over and over again to fix what was messed up by originally going back in time to prevent a specific event from happening. The context it is used is to explain the plot of the movie. The other quote in the movie is "If at last you do succeed, never try again." and that is a reversed version of the quote "If at first you don't succeed, try again." This one explains why not to travel back on time to try and fix The event. It created a huge mess of time travel that actually made the situation worse.

  • The quoted movie is Predestination, and it is inspired on the short story "'—All You Zombies—'" by Robert A. Heinlein Oct 19, 2016 at 14:37

I read it differently still. Think instead of the habits of human nature and our reluctance to stay in the now and instead ponder what could have and should have been with out lives as well as dreaming small and fragile into our possible futures.

You may wish that you had done a college degree, chosen a better career or travelled the world - when the "time was right" and so perpetually redo this in your mind (regret), when in fact, such things should be done tomorrow - i.e. imminently planned. Don't "do" and redo your yesterdays in your head - just do them tomorrow.


I interpret it to mean "Never use time travel to fix a problem if you don't have to."

I think it's from the time travel movie Predestination.


The reference, so far as I can tell without knowing your source, stems from Robert A. Heinlein's short story —All You Zombies—, a sci-fi magazine short he wrote in 1958. Wikipedia says that there was a film adaptation called Predestination, which is presumably what user Natman is referring to. I won't spoil the plot much, but the main character is part of the Time Corps that shows up in several Heinlein books. They have a bunch of slogans, all related to time travel. These include "A Stitch In Time Saves Nine Billion", "Never Do Yesterday What Should Be Done Tomorrow", "Even Jove Nods", and my favourite, "If At Last You Do Succeed, Never Try Again". The one you ask about is, obviously, a humourous reversion of Burr's original quote, and just refers to the prudent use or non-use of time travel. The slogans appear once more in the canon, in The Cat Who Walks Through Walls but in both they are minor details without an author-sanctioned interpretation. Like most cliché, really, real or fictional.

  • I don't think this actually answers the question.
    – jimsug
    Sep 23, 2015 at 1:48

I think the best answer is "don't do things prematurely"

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