One major key to effective use of time is to have a fixed routine of activities that you stick to every day. I have found that since adopting this approach, I get far more done far more effectively. It may take a bit of experimentation to figure out what those activities are, and when specifically you create time to do them, but this procedure will benefit you tremendously in the long run.
The reason it works so well seems to be that you do not have to sit around trying to figure out what you should do next. There is no indecisiveness. The brain knows what it needs to be doing and it simply gets on with it. If you also use a checklist of these chosen activities, and tick them off as and when you do them, this then gives a sense of progress that motivates you to do the next and keep the sequence flowing.
Interestingly, there was recently an article about why some high performers like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Albert Einstein and others seem to always wear the same clothes (or rather, multiple version of the same clothes). This is because it reduces the number of decisions they have to make in a day, thereby saving their mental energy for greater thinking.
Hence, it would benefit you to think up a sequence of things that you really want to get done each and every day and then organize them into a fixed time schedule. You then simply go from one to the next, consulting your timetable to see what you should be doing next. There is nothing mechanical or artificial about this. Remember, these are all activities that you have chosen to do and moreover actually want to do.
Another major advantage of this approach is that when you have a fixed routine like this, the changeover time from one activity to the next can be minimized. With practice, it can come down to just a minute or two. Compare that to a list of activities to do in the day and no specific order for them or length of time that each should take. When this is the case, you will spend a lot of time just figuring out what to do next, and probably wasting much interim time as a result.
Give it a try and report back to me on this blog about your results.