Are you a slave to your habits?

How often do you get to the end of the day and feel that you've achieved nothing noteworthy? Are you ambling towards your computer every day, booting up and automatically delving into your emails? Why?? Hoping for good news or something else? Does clearing your email make the boat go faster? Really?

If you want to create more time, don't be a slave to your email. People roost in their email and social media often, just to feel included. Leave it until say, 11.00 am. When you have 'eaten the frog', tranche out all the junk mail. If it's not relevant, it's junk, simple.

Would you let a stranger take over your diary? No, so why do you let chance take it over? Does the BBC throw you a random list of programmes or schedule all of them?

Distractions can be habit-forming. It will take self-discipline, but work on killing off your distractions, and you will see the rewards. If you're working near others, tell them of this plan, too. Make sure you're not distracted randomly. Give people time, sure, but only when you've both scheduled it.

Only respond to your clients as a priority. Leave the rest for the part of the day when you feel least productive. It is so easy to 'just check your email' so get out the habit of opening them randomly. Turn off the 'mail just in' alarm. If someone wants you urgently, they'll call you. Open an email and next thing you know, there's a click-through to a website and you're hooked, and then another 15 minutes of your life has gone forever.

Make Social Media deliberate but at a fixed time. Say 13.00? And time it for 15 minutes. Check the news on Twitter but only as you're taking a break. Set alarms on your phone and honour them. Or, that old expression, 'wherever has the day gone?' will kick in.

Plan the evening before. Take control of your schedule.

Be sure you know what you MUST achieve the next day, then for the week / month.

Make lists and prioritise all the A jobs. List within each A what must be done - draw it, use boxes, link them and tick them off when completed. Follow logical progression paths, not doing first the things that you enjoy doing. Remember, the A's make the boat go faster – then scale down through the Bs' to E's. Pick off the low-value pieces when you've completed your A and B list. What are your A's? The things you absolutely must do.

We suggest that you cultivate a fixation for deadlines.

Crowding your mind with small, low-value thoughts will clutter clear-thinking. Write down your To Do List in one place, not on scraps of paper. Use one A4 notebook, diary system or tablet. Only be a slave to your deadlines and free up quality time for your Frog Eating then your leisure time, your family and the things that you enjoy.

Here's another idea - I appreciate you cannot do this in a shop, but most people take a call from a customer and do what they are asked straightaway. So, try asking the customer when she wants it. She will rarely say 'Now'. So schedule it and agree a delivery time or the rest of your A and B plan that day will be compromised.

Buy yourself quality time.