How many of these do you have?
(I found this through Tanya's facebook feed.) I am quoting these habits and then interpreting them for my own purposes.
"Consuming more than you create"
Obviously, as scholars we have to do more reading than writing, in number of pages for example. But an example of consuming more than you create might be spending most of your research time reading and procrastinating rather than beginning to write. The minute I have an idea for an article, I begin to write it. I then read in order to find the answers that I need to include in the article I am already writing.
"Watching your own vanity metrics"
This one stopped me in my tracks. I spend a lot of time tracking blog stats, and looking myself up in google scholar. I am going to stop that right away. No more tracking my downloads on KUScholar!
"Starting the day responding to others"
I do check my email first thing in the morning. It's not a problem, because usually there is not much there. A solution might be to turn email off completely while working on specific tasks, especially writing. I tend to keep the email on all day and respond and/or delete as they come in.
"Prioritizing the wrong activities"
I think I have my priorities straight (though see post below this one). Giving my students my best self and being a productive scholar are my two main priorities.
"Relying on multi-tasking to 'save time'"
I am against multi-tasking on principle. Aside from the email problem, I don't tend to do it. I could solve the email conundrum easily by turning it off and checking it once an hour. I wish I could filter out all the crap the university sends me. KU today, KU this week, message from the provost about this, message from the chancellor about that... The only email I want to get is directed to me personally and relevant to my work or life.
Now make a list of your own ineffective habits that don't appear on this list. I've been able to save a lot of time for the next few months just by doing away with the email vigilance and with the vanity metrics from today on.