Twenty Four Seven – Zahirah Variawa

Team TMN walks in the shoes of Zahirah Variawa, Managing Director at Think Liquorice, to catch a glimpse into her day…

“Bathroom changes from day to night are very common during the peak season!”

Name: Zahirah Variawa

Title: Managing Director, Think Liquorice

What time does your alarm go off?

It varies – usually at around 6:30am.

What is the first thing you do when your feet hit the ground?

The kitties usually chase me to feed them the minute I wake up, and then I turn on my laptop to slowly start prepping for the day.

How does your morning usually pan out?

BBC is usually always on in the mornings, while I pop on the washing machine for my first load of laundry. My breakfast is usually a bowl of cereal that I eat while catching up on social media and planning the rest of the day.

How do you keep up with the news and happenings?

I stay updated by keeping in touch with all platforms – social media in the mornings definitely plays a key role in keeping me on top of things, as well as my morning dose of BBC.

What time do you head to the office?

I start working the minute my eyes open! Depending on my day, I get to the office anytime between 8:30am and lunchtime. On some days, I bounce between meetings and client venues and don’t get to the office at all.

How do you start your workday?

I usually kick off my day through a team-phone call in which we confirm our plan for the day. I then check up on client social media accounts and the team’s daily work plan, following which I reconfirm all meetings scheduled for the day before heading out.

What would you say is the most productive time of your day and why?

Early mornings and late nights – minimal distraction from phone calls, meetings and emails that need to be urgently attended to and a major part of my day goes into working with the team on their queries or requests.

Do you have a nearby coffee or snack favourite that you run to just to take a break from the office?

Our office is really well located with incredible lounge spaces, the marina on our doorstep and a mall next door – there’s always a spot to escape to.

How is your afternoon and evening normally structured?

Every day is different to the next. There are some days when meetings run along steadily all day and the afternoon meshes into the evening before I even know it. I try to schedule a bulk of my meetings in the first part of the day but this isn’t always possible.

What time do you leave the office?

It depends on how busy our day is – it could be as early as 3pm or as late at 10pm.

Do you go home straight after work?

I try to go straight home after a workday, but during the busy season I sometimes head to events or social gatherings before getting home. Bathroom changes from day to night are very common during the peak season!

Do you attend many industry events?

I try to attend the ones that make sense. The events calendar in Dubai is so busy – you could be out every night if you wanted to. Over the years, I’ve started to be a bit more selective about the ones I go to – the ones that make sense to me. I also love supporting brands and people that have constantly supported me and Think Liquorice over the years, and always make an effort to attend their events.

What do you usually do once you’ve wrapped up at work and events?

I try to get to the gym with my husband, sneak in a few minutes of ‘nothing’ on the couch and try to get a head start on the next day. I’m making a very determined effort towards a better work-home balance. I love my job for the thrills and excitement I get from it, but my family, home and me-time needs to always be a priority too.

Do you continue to work when you’re out of the office?

I am always working. As long as I have a phone, I’m working – holiday, honeymoon, travel, gym – always. But I love what I do and it’s part of who I am.

How many hours of sleep do you need for a productive next day?

How many hours of sleep do I need? 22!!!

At what time do you head to bed?

On a non-event night, I catch up on emails before bed to clear the way for the next day and finalise the week’s schedule and eventually hit the bed by 11pm. I’m up by about 6:30am – my husband works very different hours as compared to me (early mornings) so I tend to wake up closer to the time he does. In a busy spell, I can go with very little sleep as my brain struggles to switch off anyway – but it does catch up with me eventually.