In sum, this is what attention does:

• "It keeps you safe by alerting you to dangers.

• "It allows you to concentrate on and decide what you are required to do in any given situation.

• "It allows you to attune to people.

• "It helps you achieve your goal when applied to a given task.

• "It lets you focus on the present moment, allowing you to make the most of it.

• "It increases your enjoyment of life.

• "It helps make you a good listener.

• "It makes other people feel validated.

• "It produces insights.

• "It makes you more productive.

• "It enables you to collect information that you can use later in unexpected ways.

• "It has healing powers. . . .

"1. Call it a diary, or call it your life log for your eyes only, one of the best attention exercises is to write about your days. A diary is an invaluable record of names, encounters, facts, impressions, and feelings. As you review in your mind everything worthy of note that happened during the day, you put it into perspective. You evaluate what you did, you second-guess yourself, a detail comes to you that you thought you had forgotten, and so on. You are compelled to think. Your diary is a thinking tool. What about blogging instead, the way millions do around the world? A diary is different. It is not a dialogue with readers. It is something you want to keep to yourself and as such needs no filtering or polishing. You are completely free to go wherever the flying carpet of fancy takes you. Besides, knowing that later you will write about it, you will at times increase the attention you devote to what happens in your life at the very moment you experience it.

"2. Disconnect the Internet for three hours each day and attend solely to the tasks at hand.

"3. When you are engaging in conversation, make sure that you turn off your phone or any other wireless device and attend completely to what you're talking about.

"4. Attention exercises do work and can be entertaining. Before going to sleep, try to remember what you heard on the news in the morning, the names of the characters and the blot of a novel you finished last week, and the items discussed in yesterday's meeting at work.

"5. Through meditation you can detach yourself from toxic worries and obtain the relaxation, calm, and peace of mind that are otherwise so elusive today. A positive outcome of regu1ar meditation is the sharpening of attention skills. Regular aerobic exercise has the same effect.

"6. When it comes to paying attention to the world around you, are you coming up short because you are too focused on yourself? If so, explore the reasons behind that.

"7. Reading what your children are reading allows you to show them how much content and detail they are expected to retain. Nancy Drew mysteries lend themselves to a conversation about the importance of attention, since attention is a core factor in the young sleuth's ability to solve her cases.

"8. When it comes to the tree of the here and now, our ineptitude at picking its sweet fruit has been the rule. Strive to be present in the moment. Whether at school, at work, or at any kind of meeting or activity, concentrate, participate, and connect. Take notes, speak up, ask questions, and express opinions. Active participation is going to make you focus and help you remember what you are learning. Figure out how what you are learning is relevant to your interests and needs. Making these connections will help you keep paying attention."