A Day In The Life With Zara McDonald + Michelle Andrews Of Shameless

First Thing

Z: What time I get up totally depends if I have the energy to go for a run or not. If I’m exercising, 6.30am, if I’m not, about 7am. I will never not resent my alarm and I will never be someone who can comfortably wake before 6.30am. That said, I think I work best from about 8am and I positively crash mid-afternoon.

I’m pretty religious about pushing play on a podcast or an audiobook the minute I get up. If you were to psychoanalyse, you’d probably say it’s got something to do with needing to fill the silence with stuff. If you weren’t, you’d just say I like audio ‘cos it’s what we do best.

M: My alarm generally goes off at 6:50am! I can’t really function without an early morning soy latte, so coffee is always the first thing on my agenda. I also (perhaps embarrassingly) turn on my brain by working my way through Wordle, Quordle and – yes – Octordle, because I’m apparently stuck in early January.


Z: The team gets in at 8.30am when we don’t WFH, but I try to get there at 8am if I can get out the door in time. There’s something nice about setting up the day with a coffee before the chaos really starts. I’m a fickle commuter – sometimes my partner will drop me, sometimes I’ll get the train and sometimes I’ll Uber if it’s raining (see also: lazy).

M: I tend to drive to work at the moment and I really cherish the time I have in my car to listen to podcasts, call loved ones, or zone out to music. We generally spend the first 15-20 minutes of the day catching up on emails and admin before jumping into the studio. For some reason, it feels like we’re recording all the time at the moment, and we almost always do all our recordings at 9am. It’s generally when our energy is the highest. Any later and we are no good at all.


Z: We try to take a break for lunch! We are embarrassingly bad at bringing our lunch to work. If we need to take a walk we’ll generally head to Swan St in Richmond which isn’t too far from our office (there’s so much there: Hugo’s, Fishbowl, Big Dog Deli and United Sushi are a few faves), or we’ll walk to LaManna in Cremorne which will always have a reliable sandwich waiting to be eaten.


M: Our afternoons are ever-changing. Some days we will be reviewing a podcast edit, others we will be deep in research for our other podcast SCANDAL, and run sheets. Also, outside of producing content, we still have to keep a business afloat day-to-day. People would likely be mind-numbingly bored if they knew how some of our afternoons looked: we might be chasing invoices, sitting in meetings about business development, managing staff, and responding to a never-ending stream of emails.

Z: With all that in mind (and yes, we know how sad this might sound), we’re the kinds of people who don’t mind sitting at a desk all afternoon, tap-tap-tapping away on our little MacBook Pros. It suits us. Mich is way more energised later in the day but I start crashing. We do not have the same circadian rhythm and sometimes it’s a problem.


Z: We always try to be out the door at 4:30 or 5pm. Balance is super important to us and a pretty key ingredient to us feeling happy and fulfilled. That said, we are often talking most of the way through the night, and sometimes social media stuff naturally rears its head outside of typical work hours too.

To unwind if I’m at home, it’s a glass of wine and putting on some music or a podcast while we (read: my partner) makes dinner. I actually find I relax much better when I make plans on a weeknight though, so I love a good weeknight wine at the local pub with a girlfriend. Those nights are paramount to feeling like my evenings aren’t consumed with work like my days are.

M: I’m the cook in my household; my partner takes literally all of the washing and cleaning off my hands. I tend to opt for lots of risottos and noodles at the moment, but I’m also a sucker for homemade pizzas. Then I turn to (mostly trashy) reality television. Preferably British, preferably the kind of thing my mum would say ‘Oh, Michelle, really?’ to. I am also a classic extrovert and crave the company of others, so I try to see my best friends, siblings and parents every single week, and find their company totally relaxing. (It’s a bit of a joke in the Shameless office that I am allergic to spending a single moment alone!)

Last Thing

Z: I wish I was one of those people who could survive off like five hours, but the truth is I fall apart without a solid night’s sleep, so I try to be in bed by 10pm, and asleep by 10.30pm. If I look at my phone of an evening and it’s past 10.30pm, I just about faint. That’s the no-go zone.

M: I would love to tell you that I go to sleep around 9pm. That would be a lie. It’s more like 11pm.

Right now we are listening to, watching, and reading…

Listening to The Imperfects, watching The Split and reading Black Cakeit’s this month’s Shameless Book Club pick!

We get our best work done when…

When we go to a local cafe (we love Tarts Anon) to get out of the office, have a change of scenery and use the time to brainstorm.

A philosophy we live and work by is…

We constantly work to the idea of going a centimetre wide and a kilometre deep. Do a few things and do them well. Don’t spread yourself too thin!

Listen to Shameless Media’s podcasts here!

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