The key to attention management is getting clear on what question the mind is asking. And then helping it.
Most Thoughts Are Simply an Attempt to Answer a Question
I find by observing the mind very quickly, most thoughts are just an attempt at finishing questions. If you can get to the root question being answered by a thought, you can help the mind along by answering it consciously, or putting the right question at the forefront of your mind.
For example as I observe my mind a thought pops into my head that I should get something from town. Once I mindfully observe the thought I can ask, and what question is this thought trying to answer? The answer might be – “to make sure that someone coming to see me is going to have a better experience.”
POSITIVELY FRAME WHATEVER THE MIND IS WORKING ON
So the deeper question I might ask is, “How can I make sure X person has a good experience?” And then I might get a list of additional answers beyond just the thing I was concerned about a moment earlier. Plus now I have a deeper reason or purpose to do the thing I was previous just concerned with.
This might seem really simple and it is! The key to managing your attention better is make sure you’re asking the right questions. And the best way to know what questions to ask is to simply listen to your mind think and then help it out! To ask better questions and come up with more solutions to the problems it’s working on.