In general, I think I’m a fairly efficient person, but I often find I fit the tasks I have to do to fill the time that’s available. Like many writers, I can be very productive when I’m on deadline or juggling multiple assignments. It’s when my workload’s light that things start to go downhill, as I take little breaks to catch up on blog reading, clean the house or re-organize my desk, and put off what little work I need to do until the very last moment.
Many different theories have been put forth to explain procrastination that procrastinators are perfectionists, for example, or that they lack self-confidence. I wonder if it’s not also because we’re subliminally addicted to stress, since we know that’s one sure way to actually get the job done. If I feel like I’ve been wasting too much time at the end of the day, I start to get stressed, and then I tend to sit down and actually finish the work.
At any rate, the answer is as simple as it is hard to implement: prioritize your tasks, then do them (I also like Karen’s suggestion of using an hourglass to keep track of time). If you’ve got time left over at the end of the day, work ahead or kick back with a book or a glass of wine and enjoy yourself.