Adopting good habits is beneficial in all areas of life but it is a particularly useful aid to effective time management. The commuter, who covers his windscreen as a matter of course on those icy winter nights, heads for work in the morning while his neighbours are scraping and de-icing theirs. And the woman who habitually prepares the following day's sandwich before she goes to bed is at the bus stop while her yawning colleagues are getting butter from the fridge.

So it is with the working day. You have a finite amount of hours so adopting good habits will ensure that you use your valuable time most effectively. Here are some ways you can maximise productivity by getting into the habit.

Go go go
Many people are at their most productive in the morning, refreshed after sleep and raring to go. As soon as you get to your desk is the ideal time to embark on a burst of effort on the most important project you have to deal with that day. By the time you stop for that first coffee break you may be pleasantly surprised at how much you have got through. This has the knock-on effect of making you feel good about yourself and, having made a dent in the main task of the day, that everything else is achievable.

It may be that you are not a morning person and that your own period of maximum productivity comes at a different time of day. Whenever this is, recognise it and utilise it.

Wait Wait Wait
It may seem odd that in an article on how best to cut back on time wastage the advice is to wait. But sometimes waiting can play a useful part in managing your time effectively. For example, if the incoming mail alert sounds while you are working, do you feel compelled to break off from what you are doing to check it out? You should stick doggedly to the task in hand like the captain of a sailing ship ploughing through a storm; never mind the crashing waves and bolts of lightning going on around you, getting home safely is all that matters.

Check your mail periodically through the day instead of reading each one as it comes in and leave your phone calls to voicemail or the answering machine.

Clip clip clip
Clip away all the excess time you possibly can. Each saving may only trim off a few seconds but these can mount up into sizeable chunks of breathing space. The golden rules are to introduce as many shortcuts as possible into your working routine and use them as standard. These can be keyboard shortcuts, the book-marking of frequently-visited websites and taking advantage of built-in corner-cutters like AutoFill and AutoText. Like a designer trying to optimise streamlining on a new model of car you should pare away anything that will slow your progress so that you can achieve maximum efficiency with minimum drag.

These are just a few ways you can streamline your working day to get as much out of it as is possible. Time is seen as an increasingly important commodity in the workplace and its effective management is a sought-after skill. Maximising efficiency through the adoption of good habits like those mentioned above brings benefits but, because they become habit, no extra effort is needed.