I've been meditating for four years. I find it very helpful in my day to day and year to year life. However, I want to be clear that this is my experience and is in no way meant to be instructional.
  1. As a New Kadampa Buddhist, my meditation training has consisted of focusing on a virtuous object.
    This means I don't try to "empty my mind" but instead bring my mind to a particular focus such as compassion, love, karma, the importance of human life, etc.
  2. When I first sit to do my formal meditation, I will concentrate on my breathing for a moment or two to help calm my mind.
    The mind always wanders, that's why we meditate. If I learn to tame my mind during meditation, it becomes easier to tame it outside of meditation. So as I start to concentrate on my breath, if my mind wanders, I simply bring it back to my breath. I do my formal meditation practice in front of my shrine.
  3. Then I will do my prayers in preparation for the meditation.
    The prayers ask for blessings and also help to bring my thoughts inward.
  4. During my meditation I will concentrate on that day's virtuous object.
    If that day's object is patience, I may think about a time I did not practice patience and how I felt. Then I will imagine the scenario if I would have practiced patience and the better outcome. I would then make the determination to practice patience and concentrate on that determination for as long as possible. Again, if my mind wanders, I bring it back to my determination.
  5. I say my closing prayers and dedicate the virtue I accumulated in my practice.
    I will dedicate my virtue (karma) to anyone I know is in need (a sick friend, the homeless, etc.) but ultimately I will dedicate to help my progress along the path to me becoming a Buddha so that I may permanently remove the suffering of others.
  6. I also do some quick breathing meditations anywhere throughout my day when I need to refocus.
    I use this techniques if I find myself being short tempered during my day. Just a minute of concentrating on my breath will remind me to calm down and look inward. You can do this anywhere but most of my meditation friends find themselves in the workplace bathrooms taking a meditation break.
  7. Thank you @LizDawson for the request. Whenever I have to speak to this topic, it always deepens my gratitude toward my practice.