To use your time in a day effectively, I think it’s a good idea to divide your time into two parts: thinking time and doing time.
Thinking time is the time for you to plan your day. You spend this time thinking about how you should spend your day. Here you should consider all your priorities, and then choose the activities which will be the most impactful for you.
Due to its planning nature which affect the whole day, obviously thinking time should be put early in the morning in the beginning of your day. If you do your planning well here, by the time your thinking time ends you should have had a clear picture about how you would spend your whole day.
At this point, it’s time to move to the next step: doing time. This is the time for you to execute the things that you have planned. At this part of time, you should focus only on doing. Thinking should no longer be part of this time. Why ? Because of what I find in my own days: after the plan is ready, usually the time I use to think is just an excuse for procrastinating. Since I don’t feel like doing, I procrastinate under the label of “thinking”.
Realizing this, I now try to spend my doing time only for doing. Whenever I check myself, I try to find myself working out my to-do list items instead of just thinking about them.
Of course, it doesn’t mean that you can’t be flexible. You should give room for flexibility. There are times when something happens in the midst of the day which requires you to alter your plan. At such points, you need to think about how you would alter your plan. Just treat is as another thinking time. Think and plan well. But after that, go back to doing time and focus only on doing.
So, think in the thinking time and do (and only do) in the doing time. If you do this, you may be surprised by how many things you can accomplish in your day.