Here’s a paradox: You can pay better attention and be more present and relaxed if you divert a little attention from whomever you’re listening to or whatever you’re doing.
As often as possible, keep a bit of attention in your heart region. Notice that your breath is active in that area. You’ll be aware that your lungs are expanding and contracting. But don’t FOLLOW your breath. Just keep a small amount of focus in that heart region.
If you try to listen to someone 100% with your head, your mind can drift off and/or start its own silent conversation. If you try to do work entirely from your head, you may get tense, experience stress and be less productive. So try this tip, and see what happens!