My wife is an amazing, powerful, loving woman who can sometimes be a little ADD. It is, point in fact, one of the many nuances about her that I love. Recently, we were talking about communication and how I can better clearly convey information to her. The feedback that I received is that she needs to be able to focus her attention upon WHAT it is that I am saying to retain this information. To which, of course, I responded by saying "So not when you are cooking with baby and cat running amok in kitchen?". You can guess her response.
In any case, looking beyond her share and within the story within this story - the mythos of the moment - I began to see how this pattern exists everywhere. How all to often we become inundated by distractions and, consequently, can lose our focus upon what it is we are doing, thinking, etc. Whether it is a cell phone beeping, cars honking, even the soft hum of air conditioning as background noise - there are innumerable sights, sounds, smells, thoughts, and emotions that compete for our attention in every given moment.
So how can we best focus upon something when we are in the midst of it? One trick that I have found invaluable in supporting focus is ritual transition. I know, sounds mysterious. Not so much. When I say ritual, I mean a conscious action that you choose to do in a moment. For example, when I am transitioning into a workout I begin by changing into the clothes that I associate with working out, focusing full upon what I am doing in this moment. The feel of the shirt that I am wearing, the textures of my shoes (I don't usually wear socks), etc bring my attention and focus my energy upon the shift in my mind and prime my body. In doing so, I utilize this action to signal to all aspects of myself that it is time to shift gears and get ready.
This is something that you can do in every moment, whether you are getting ready to work at the computer, spend time with family, or hit the town with friends. Take time and create space to mentally transition yourself into what comes next. In doing so, you'll be more present and mindful of that moment by fully focusing your attention in the now.