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The answer to every "why" is.......because.
When you start with a why you are lost on a treadmill of excuses. I know this seems harsh but perhaps you can start with...what do I believe about this.... rather than why.

That is certainly a good alternative for those who don't use "why?" as I do.
For me the internal dialogue goes something like this:
Why didn't I get X done today?
Because I spent my time on Y instead.
Why did I spend all my time on Y?
[searching searching]
Because I succumbed to "just one more" syndrome.
Aha! I did not get X done because "just one more" bit my tushy.
Now, the next time I catch myself saying "just one more", I say to myself, "no, let's do 3 more, and then no more".
Frequently my "why?" dialogues take me through a whole list of habits I have fallen into, yet which no longer work for me. This helps me identify what they are and how they are eating my time, which in turn helps me to break them.
Obviously, others' mileage may vary.
I do like your description of fixed/free/focused attention. Guess you could say, mapping my method onto yours, that my "why?" helps me develop focused attention.
Hoping others might share what works for them.
I'm InLivingColor
firm believer in having a multivariate toolbox
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