As the 4th of July weekend draws upon us, we begin to focus on the true meaning of the holiday, the plight for our nation’s freedom and all of the brave souls who made our Independence Day possible.  We fall into daydreams of red, white and blue, and engulf ourselves in anticipation of bratwursts, time with family, and the chance to play with sparklers (no matter how dangerous those things are… did you know they burn at temperatures of between 1800-3000 degrees?  Yikes!)

And then you realize, it is 10 am, you are in your cubicle not sunbathing on a boat, you have a Lean Cuisine for lunch not a juicy hamburger, and it’s time to get back to work.
Whether it’s Christmas Eve, the day before a long weekend, your typical Friday, or just a really rough Tuesday, we can all share sentiments around the difficulties of staying focused at work on occasion.
To optimize productivity at your 9-5, here are some tips outlined by the National Seminars Training Website.  This blog post is dedicated to employment, productivity, and America!  Have a fabulous 4th of July weekend!

How to Stay Focused at Work:

1. Make a 10-minute planning appointment with yourself daily.
Start off every morning looking at — and prioritizing — your tasks for the day. Writing them down reinforces the fact that you’re still pulling down a paycheck and your company deserves your best work. If you’re not a “morning person” you can also schedule your 10 minutes at the end of the day and plan for tomorrow.

2. Find the type of calendar that works best for you and use it consistently.
Whether you print a calendar off for free from your word processing software on your PC, or you spend hundreds of dollars on the latest PDA, there’s a calendar out there that fits your personality. Using one gives yourself goals to get work done.

3. Create a master list and a to-do list.
Yes, there IS a difference between a master list and a to-do list. A master list of major projects you want to accomplish will eliminate the small lists and sticky notes that get lost. You may want to keep your master list on your computer. Your to-do list should be made daily. Decide which are the three most important tasks for that day and start on them. Then tackle the next three.

4.  Use your computer for work.
It is becoming all too easy to find distractions with the widespread internet access employees are given.  Unplug yourself from your email, personal messaging systems, and any other online distractions if you have a task to complete.
5. Recognize that using your time effectively is a self-management issue.
Your time is a precious commodity to you, your family and your organization, and you owe it to everyone – especially yourself – to schedule your time wisely.