My Day: Chris Sanborn

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A lot of people ask me what my day looks like. I think they assume it’s either hard or interesting or both given I juggle running a small business and being a father of two small children in New York City.

I also thought it would be fun to document what an average day looks like for me right now so that I can look back fondly on it when I embark on my epic “second act” as a potato chip farmer…some day.

Anyway…here it goes…

5:00 AM – I wake up at 5AM. It “leaves a mark” (I’m not really a morning person) but I do it for two reasons:

  1. I have some unfortunate Irish immigrant blood that betrays my ability to sleep until a reasonable hour. If I’m not in pain…I’m not trying hard enough. It’s an affliction.
  2. Some day I hope to spend 95% of my time sipping Mai Tai’s and watching Meg Ryan movies. But today…I have a fair amount of “work work” that requires focus. This is a hard thing to come by for me. My kids wake up at 7AM (and working from home turns into typing-with-someone-sticking-a-crayon-up-your nose) and then from 9AM – 6PM I’m on fire. So the wee small hours of the morning are the only time I can write proposals and more thoughtful emails, catch up on things I missed from the day before, and perform other tasks that require extended focus (like writing this post).

I use my iPhone to wake up. I love my iPhone almost all the time. This is not one of those times.

 

5:30 AM – I take a solid 20 min shower and I’m one of those people who can’t really wake up without a shower. I do a lot of my thinking in there too…and I know that I have full conversations with myself.

My wife likes to leave no towels in the bathroom…which I typically discover after I’ve showered. She does this because she is hurtful and my pain brings her joy.

 

5:45 AM – After getting dressed in the dark (which is fine because I wear your basic husky-white-guy-who-works-in-digital uniform of jeans, white button down shirt…augmented with sport coat if I have meeting) and grabbing some coffee and cereal – I make my way to my home office / TV room / storage closet (I live in Manhattan and I’m not an investment banker or a lawyer so alas…my rooms are “slashed.”) I spend the next hour and change doing actual work. It’s the most productive part of my day.

My breakfast. I bow to the altar of the Keurig. It’s near the top of my list of things I would bring to a desert island.

My “home office.” 

 

7:00 AM – My kids wake up and I “kind of” work until about 8AM when I get them ready to walk out the door. One of my daughters attends a public school in Chelsea (crosstown from us…and if you have ever been to New York you know that “crosstown” = “not good”…but we have a system…more on that later.)

Working while eating breakfast at the table invites ridicule from 5 year olds.

 

8:10 AM-ish – March my daughter into the car to head crosstown to drop her off at her school. Now…since moving laterally across the island of Manhattan is basically one of the most frustrating experiences in the world…I have a very complex “system” for getting it done. I can tell you, pretty much down to the millisecond, when every stoplight between 1st Ave and 8th Ave from 21st Street to 30th Street hit red, green and yellow.

Ginger and me on the way across town to drop her off at school. Both of my daughters are incapable of keeping a straight face if they think a camera is trained on them…an affliction they inherited from their mother.

 

8:30-ish – Drop Ginger off at her school. I don’t know if all parents have this problem with kindergarden age children but every time I drop her off I get little depressed and sad (that she is getting so big…and just because I miss her immediately after she’s gone up the stairs and into the school).

If we get to the school early we park and chill. In this case Ginger got her “meta” on. And before you start hating on me…that’s not a real phone in her hand….it’s a pretend piece-of-plastic phone.

 

9:15 AM – After rifling back across town (if you see a white minivan going 78 m.p.h across 22nd street around 6th Ave at this time of morning…please don’t tempt fate by trying to jaywalk against the light…I will try to get as close as I can to you without actually hitting you…I’m THAT guy)…I park my vehicle (also known as a minivan…also known as the Sanborn Media Factory video production truck…my masculinity prefers the latter) back at my house and start making my way to the office. My office is strategically located within “long snowball toss” distance from my apartment building (which happens to be the same building I grew up in as a kid…but don’t worry…I don’t live with parents or anything…but I do live a few floors away…which is useful….when you have kids.)

9:30 AM – Arrive at work. Our space is like a big fishbowl. I sit at a desk in a room with some of the producers. It is generally a giant mess. First meeting of the day is an internal one with our Creative Director, Cris Hazzard, our Strategy Director, Andrew Parker, and our designer, Seung Lee. Cris is also my partner in the business because when I met him I decided he was much smarter than I am and I wanted him to never leave.

First meeting of the day with (left to right) Andrew Parker, Seung Lee and Cris Hazzard.

 

10:30 AM – Meeting with The Tennis Media Company (TMC) at their office down the street (I’m lucky that most of our clients are either a subway ride north or south of our Little Koreatown location.) I try to walk to meetings whenever possible since my day does not leave much (ok…any) time to workout. TMC is one of several magazine clients we have (I was in the magazine publishing world before we started the company) and we build digital products on both the editorial and advertising sides of their boat.

 

12:30 PM – Lunch at my desk. Sushi from the local bodega today. When you wake up at 5AM you are basically ready for lunch at 10AM so I typically wolf it down.

Sad lunch….but tasty.

 

1:00 PM – Headed over to our lunch room to chat with some of the team on various projects. The people in our office are obsessed with srichacha sauce and today there is a srichacha shortage so they are freaking out a bit. I personally don’t ingest anything spicy…I was raised on meat and potatoes and ketchup is about as far as I go on the spice train.

Lunchroom at the factory.

 

2:00 PM – We have a standing weekly meeting with The Girl Scouts of the USA. We do a lot of digital work for the program team over there which means we’re lucky enough to create sites, apps and videos for girls that are designed solely to make them into strong, happy, capable, healthy people. Being the father of two girls…and being…a human being…this makes me happy. And the GSUSA team are trusted friends and excellent partners so it’s always a pleasure hanging out with them each week.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Taking a photo in the middle of a meeting and explaining you are using it to document your day on a blog is a bit of an awkward maneuver…in case you ever need to do it.

At the Girl Scouts headquarters.

 

4:40 PM – Arrived back at my apartment. My wife, Amie Sanborn, is (in addition to my partner in our company) a voiceover artist and had a gig in the soft gooey center of when we were babysitter-less. So I strapped on my Mr. Mom pants and jumped in. My older daughter Ginger had a playdate and my younger daughter Lucy was content to watch her favorite show (Jake and the Neverland Pirates) so I actually got some work done in our home office / tv room / storage closet. This involved calling a women’s fashion magazine about a social concept that would be pitched to a beauty advertiser. I know too much about women’s beauty products…it’s an occupational hazard but one that I embrace. I poured myself a Jack and Ginger…which is my drink…and no…I did not name my daughter after my drink…it just happened that way.

Made a drink and hung with Lucy.

Sometimes when I try to work AND look after Lucy at the same time…she tears my face off.

 

5:30 PM – My wife returned from her VO gig and I was thus released from Mr. Mom duties. I banged out some more work (mostly responding to emails that I did not get to during the day).

Back at the home office to catch up on emails.

 

6:30 PM – Dinner with the ladies. Leftover chicken nuggets…which taste even better the next day.

Dinner.

EDITOR’S NOTE: One thing I struggle with is fully “unplugging” during this time when I get home from work and when the kids go to bed. I talk a big game about being able to lock my computer and phone in a cabinet during that time but I’ve not been able to stay faithful to it. It’s something I need to work on.

7:15 PM – Usually I would help my wife get the kids through the rest of their evening routine (bath, books, bed) but tonight we were loading into the Godiva store to install a photo booth we created for them. This is part of our “Live” capability…which is one of the most fun and challenging parts of our business. We engineer digital experiences at live events…in this case a photo booth that lets you enter a Facebook contest.

7:45 PM – Arrive back at office to drive our live activation team to their load-in destination at Rockefeller Center.

Pack up the van with the photobooth gear.

Load in at Godiva. Rain in winter makes this less fun than it would normally be (especially as a night cap to a long-ish day).

 

8:30 PM – Arrive back home. Watch the Ranger’s game (thank god hockey is back on). Fight the urge to fall asleep.

Ranger’s v. Flyers (Rangers won….eat it Philly!)

 

10:00 PM – Surrender to the sleep gods….faithfully and in full.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I never have trouble falling asleep…which i attribute to a clear conscious and a fairly packed schedule.

So that’s my day. If I could snap my fingers and change it I would magically:

– Sleep more
– Get some exercise
– Unplug completely when I’m with my family

…but all-in-all I think I can’t complain. I get to make cool things with very talented people and for an amazing roster of clients while hanging with a ridiculous house full of ladies I adore.