This is a question I often get. I can summarize my answer in one word: prioritization. Every book on effectiveness has this as a core component.
Effective people spend time on important tasks. Ineffective people spend time on menial tasks.
I start each day with a list of things to do. That is not unusual. What is most important is prioritizing this list. Instead of doing the easy things first--do the important things first. If there are no important things residing upon on your list, then you have a REAL problem. You need to go back and formulate your long-term goals and work backwards.
Your everyday list should actually be comprised of actions which are short-term goals designed to get you to those long-term and intermediate-term goals.
Here is an exercise to try: go back and chart how you spent the last two workdays. How productive was your time utilized? If you spent time on unproductive tasks, how can you eliminate these? That might mean anything from saying “no” to certain types of business to delegation of certain tasks. You must make adjustments.
The true definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result. What are your priorities and what can you eliminate in order to focus more on these priorities? Sometimes these require difficult choices, which will not necessarily make everyone happy. Hopefully this helps.