Attention is the ability to stay focussed and complete a task without distraction.
Attention also requires ADAPTABILITY, the ability to withdraw from one activity in order to deal effectively with another.
Children at school have to pay attention to what is being taught so that they can imprint it in their working memory and then consolidate and transfer information into long-term memory storage. The same is true for adults; Unless we pay attention, we cannot create memories. For example, if you are a banker or stockbroker, you pay attention to how stock prices move, integrate that into your working memory, decide what to do, take action, and remember the event so that you can perform better in the future. The same thing is true for a physician, pilot, air traffic controller, truck driver, artist…in fact everyone!
Attention also requires a precise amount of concentration; too much and you will not be able to get off the task; too little and you will not be able to start one, and you certainly won’t be able to finish.
Attention has a circadian component. We have an internal drive to be more attentive during the day and are naturally prone to being less attentive at night. However, sleep deprivation messes with your attention. A sleep-deprived brain cannot stay focused on tasks during the day, as the biggest distraction is feeling sleepy and dozing off.

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