Nothing will earn you a ticket to the front of the unemployment line faster than an attitude that approaches work as a mindless routine involving warming a chair, updating your Facebook status, scanning Pinterest and sharing your latest family pics with the coworker one cubicle over. While few would admit to it (or describe it so bluntly), this is the message we are sending our boss when tech gadgets, social networks and casual conversation consume our day.

Undeniably, the biggest culprit to work distractions is technology. Most of us would not dream of leaving home without our mobile phone—most of which fall in the category of smartphones, which means personal Internet access at all times. And, then there’s the tablet, the newest tech toy making its debut in the workplace. While we could argue these gadgets make us more productive with all of their cool functionality, there’s a good chance they are doing just the opposite. 

A Workplace Trend Report by Sodexo stated the average time between interruptions is eight minutes—that equates to 50 interruptions in a normal workday. If an interruption lasts an average of five minutes, workers are losing more than four hours a day to distractions! 

In today’s economy, no one can afford to be cavalier about how they spend their time at work. If you want to keep your job and excel in your career, focus is critical. Be relentless about guarding your time and not giving in to distractions. The best way to do this is to set specific times for personal calls and past-time activities—preferably during breaks. The rest of the time, silence the noise of these distractions and determine to stay focused on work. 

At the end of the day, the one with the strong work ethic wins!