I am not a grammar teacher but here is a start on this subject. In general non-native speakers overuse the continuous.
- The continuous is like a video clip and the simple form is like a photograph.
- In many cases, we can use either one and both work fine.
- When in doubt use the simple form, the photograph.
Video clip (continuous)
I am eating breakfast now.
Why are you asking me that question (now)?
How are you doing?
I am hoping he will come.
I was just about to start eating breakfast when the phone rang.
I was finishing my book when the phone rang.
Were you working long hours when you lived in Tokyo?
I was working long hours in Tokyo when I realized that I was not eating enough.
I eat breakfast every day.
Why do you ask?
How do you do?
I hope he will come.
I ate breakfast and then the phone rang.
As soon as I finished reading, he called.
Did you work long hours when you lived in Tokyo?
I always worked long hours when I lived in Tokyo.