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Seven Ways To Keep Motivated During A Long Bar Shift

Anyone who’s worked in the hospitality industry will have worked at least one long shift during their career, and most will work long shifts regularly. While it’s not the most pleasant of things to do, it’s part and parcel of the business.

However, knowing this doesn’t make it any easier. When you can see the night stretching on ahead of you, it can be difficult to stay motivated and enjoy your time at work. Whether you’re tired from a previous shift, don’t have your favourite co-worker, or whether it’s just a slow night, making it to the end of your stint can seem impossible at times.

So, to give you a hand, we’ve found seven of the top ways to keep motivated during your next bar shift.

Chat to the customers

One of the best ways to keep motivated is to actually have a chat to the people you’re serving. While this will depend on how busy the bar is, taking some time out to get to know your customers can bring out some really interesting stories and could even make their day as well.

You don’t have to stay chatting for too long. In fact, it’s better to have some short, regular banter spread out across your shift to keep you going. Just knowing there’s someone else there to have some friendly chatter with can really help and you might even make some regulars out of it!

Stay hydrated

A long shift is definitely a marathon, not a sprint, and it should be treated as such. Keeping well hydrated can help to keep your energy levels up and your motivation going for longer, so make sure you have a glass of water or fruit juice on hand to sip during your work.

However, it’s best to stay clear of fizzy drinks and caffeine as this will more likely end up with you crashing and feeling even worse.

It’s also a good idea to keep snacking if your employers allow this, as grazing across your shift can also help to keep your energy levels up. However, it’s best to check with your manager first!

This post by WebMD has some more tips for keeping energy levels up.

Make friends with colleagues

Having other people at work going through the same thing can help to build a sense of camaraderie and keep each other motivated when the going gets tough. In fact, one study found that having work friends even makes you like your job much more!

If you’re working with a familiar co-worker then the relationship will no doubt already be there, and if you’re working with someone new then it’s a perfect opportunity to get to know one another!

Having a friendly chat, helping each other out with tasks, and even just having a little bit of a grumble can really keep you going over a long shift.

Focus on the result

Let’s face it: most of us will be doing long shifts for the extra money. So, why not focus on all the great things you can do with the cash when you get paid?

Whether you want to treat yourself to a weekend away, a new video game, or even just to save up for your dream flat, having an eye on the prize can really keep you motivated when your work starts to drag.

If you’re not in it for the money, then try focus on the value of your work. Serving customers with a smile, creating a happy atmosphere for their special occasion, and chatting to the regulars can make the customer’s experience much better, so just knowing you’re brightening someone’s day is usually enough to stay motivated!

Take a breather

Bar work can sometimes be really hectic, especially if the place is rammed or you’re understaffed. This can really make it hard to motivate yourself and instead, you get stressed and burned out.

To try to stop this from happening, take five minutes to head into the back and take a few deep breaths. Calming yourself down can really refresh your mentality and help you to go back out with some new energy which will keep you going through the difficult times.

Baby steps

If your shift is dragging, one of the worst things you can do is to count down the hours until you finish. This will only make your stint seem longer and cause you to lose motivation as the minute hand slowly drags its way around the clock.

Instead, try taking things one step at a time. Break the hours up into manageable 10 or 15-minute sections and try to complete one task per section. This way, you’ll have tangible goals for each hour and completing these tasks can really increase your motivation. By focusing on one small thing at a time, the hours will also go by much more quickly.

Learn a skill

Finally, use a long shift to try and master a bartending skill that you’ve been wanting to do for ages. Whether it’s learning some ‘Cocktail’-esque tricks or just mastering how to quickly change a keg, concentrating on one thing can take up a surprising amount of time, especially if it’s a really difficult skill to master!

This post by Work Pulse has some more great suggestions for staying motivated.


Hopefully, these tips will come in handy when you’re facing your next long shift!

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