“Not My Circus, Not My Monkey” is The Perfect Mantra to Help You Stay Focused

The message was simple, powerful, and absolutely beautiful.

I stumbled across the mantra in a meme on social media, and I audibly gasped. The background was a picture of cotton candy, and the words across the photo were “Not my circus. Not my monkey.”

When our beleaguered associate director walked into my office, I waved the printout around, declaring that he needed to read it right now! I’m certain at some point he said he couldn’t read it if I was waving it around. Once he had a look at it, he had the same reaction as I did.

Why, you may ask, were we so excited to discover this piece of sage advice?

Nothing drains your productivity more than getting sucked into other people’s stuff, especially in the work environment. It happens quite easily, and you can find yourself up to your armpits in someone else’s circus and monkeys, wondering how it all happened.

When you get distracted inside someone else’s circus, you may end up neglecting your own priorities. In an office setting, doing this can be deadly for your productivity and make your boss unhappy.

So, do the following four things instead. With these suggestions, you can leave other people’s circus tents and their drama behind you.

  1. Use the Mantra. If you spend all your time worrying about other people you don’t have control over, you can make yourself crazy. When other people try to lure you into their circus, repeat, “Not my circus, not my monkey.” Keep repeating it until the other people run away in terror, confusion, or both.
  2. Focus. Look at your own goals, priorities, and to do list. What projects do you need to focus on? What actions do you need to take to get started or finish your projects? Whenever possible, spend 30-60 minutes — before you open your email in the morning — to work on your important projects.
  3. Stretch Yourself. Sometimes we can get easily distracted if we’re bored with our work or if it’s become a mundane chore. Find yourself a new goal or project that will stretch you and help you grow. If it scares you a little, then you know it’s a good choice. Need a bit of motivation? These quotes will fire you up and get you moving forward.
  4. Find a Tigger. Ditch negative, toxic people whenever possible, and surround yourself with positive people who encourage and support you. Life’s too short to always hang out with Eyeore. That dude is depressing. Find some Tiggers and add some joy to your life.

Do you have a favorite mantra or quote that motivates or keeps your productivity high? Please share in the comments.

I’m Janice. I’ve been a Professional Organizer since 2001, and I love every minute of it. I’m also the Organized Auntie on the Savvy Auntie blog and the in-house professional organizer at a major cancer center.
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