The benefits of practicing mindfulness at your hotel job
Have you ever driven somewhere you go often – such as to work, home, the grocery store or the gym – and realized as you arrived that you couldn’t remember a single moment of the commute? If so, you’re not alone. Researchers have found that we spend nearly 47 percent of our waking hours thinking about something other than what we are doing. While it’s not uncommon to somewhat ‘zone out’ in the shower, the car, at the dinner table or even at work, the same researchers found that the more our minds wander, the more unhappy we tend to be. Enter the concept of ‘mindfulness.’
Put simply, mindfulness is conscious, focused awareness. It’s the opposite of zoning out and operating unconsciously. Mindfulness generally requires slowing down to better experience your thoughts, feelings and surroundings. And according to experts, practicing mindfulness in your day-to-day life, including your time at work, can yield a sense of calmness and clarity as well as improve your confidence, focus, productivity and performance.
Consider the following simple ways you can become more mindful in your hotel job today:
- Practice being present regardless of what you are doing. Rather than allowing your mind to wander while you’re tidying rooms, prepping ingredients for the dinner rush, waiting for the next guest to check in, or listening to another guest’s complaints about her room, focus your thoughts on what you are doing. It will help you avoid mistakes, increase your efficiency, and may even inspire you to think creatively about better ways to solve guest problems or accomplish certain duties.
- Avoid multitasking whenever possible. Multitasking is an enemy of mindfulness. Rapidly switching back and forth between two or more tasks may make you feel like you’re getting a lot done, but studies have shown that multitasking is actually less productive than working on one thing at a time. While most hotel positions include a variety of responsibilities, and it may be impossible to completely eliminate the need to multitask at times, look for ways to group your tasks into similar categories.
- Don’t rush through your duties. Guests want to check in and out as quickly as possible. Your supervisor wants that special project done yesterday, and you haven’t yet responded to several other internal requests. Unfortunately, the desire to accomplish it all right now is an infallible recipe for panic, loss of focus, avoidable errors and poor efficiency as a result. Even during your workday’s busiest moments, it’s important to slow down, remain calm and focus on your actions. You’re likely to improve your performance in the process.
- Find things you can feel grateful about. When we stop focusing on the negative and instead make a concerted effort to feel the positive, improved communication, relationships, productivity and quality of work often follow. Whenever you find yourself thinking about the things you don’t like about your hotel job, remind yourself of all the aspects of your current position or overall hospitality career that you do enjoy.
- Accept things you cannot change. Some guests yelled at you for their own mistakes. Two of your coworkers called out sick and your supervisor told you that you’d have to stay late. You made an error in one of last week’s audits and were reprimanded by the accountant. While some situations are certainly uncomfortable, mindfulness requires you to experience and accept a moment as it is. When you learn to do that, rather than lashing out, complaining, avoiding or deflecting guilt, self-improvement will naturally follow.
- Stay focused during your breaks. It’s just as important to remain aware of your emotions, senses and surroundings when you’re on a break as it is when you’re actively working. Instead of playing solitaire on your phone while you cram lunch down your throat, find a quiet place to relax – preferably outside or somewhere with natural light – and focus on what you are eating. Shorter breaks are perfect for a walk around the block or at least a few moments of fresh air while you complete a brief breathing meditation.