Every Saturday morning, B and I wake up around our usual time of 7:15 a.m. I throw on clothes and some light make-up, grab my MacBook and we’re out the door by 8 at the latest.
B is a cyclist. He goes on a group ride out of Mellow Johnnies nearly every Saturday morning that rolls out at 8:30. I tag along because of the coffee shop inside Mellow Johnnies, Juan Pelota. While B rides his bike, I sip coffee and hangout in my usual spot in the shop.
We started this routine a few months ago. At first, I like tagging along for the promise of coffee on a Saturday morning. The first several Saturdays I’d get easily frustrated because I didn’t have a personal project or anything to hold my attention for my few hours alone. I’d find myself trolling the internet for hours, which usually left me feeling drained and sad. It felt like I was stuck in a static phase where I just kept busy without accomplishing anything. I wanted to use this time to enjoy a hobby of mine, instead of just enjoying the coffee.
In the morning, I feel the most creative and ready to work, but forcing myself to focus on one thing was impossible. I started writing and editing during this time. Some mornings, I’d bring a book. Until, a few weeks ago, I noticed an abandoned New York Times sitting on the edge of the coffee bar. The shop doesn’t sell copies, so I asked the nearest barista if it belonged to someone or was for sale. To my delight, he said it was for me. Three morning hours, endless amounts of coffee, and a free NYT with the correct date all for me. This changed my whole routine. On that first Saturday with my NYT, I think I was smiling all morning.
While I studied journalism, I was a regular reader of NYT. Free copies were available in the communications building, so I'd grab one whenever I had some free time on campus. I even signed up for the student discount subscription for my iPad and iPhone. It was one of the ways I could stay current on news for the many current news quizzes I had, but it inspired my writing too. I loved sitting in the hallway and unfolding the pages across my lap. In a busy college schedule, when I had time to read the paper it felt special.
A few years later, I still stay current with news by reading the newsletter The Skimm and following NYT on Twitter and in my feed reader. However, the articles I read from these sources are usually read on a screen, where I can get easily distracted with incoming notifications or other apps. Reading the paper now allows me to give my full attention to it and I know I'll be able to focus on it for hours because of the variety of articles and minimal distraction. I like to start by reading the top left corner above the fold on the front page. I start here and work my way across the top. Unlike reading from twitter, a feed reader, a book, or magazine, I don't have to make many decisions. I'll read whatever is in the edition, because the editor has already chosen the most relevant, informative, and best articles. I can focus on reading instead of what is best to read. Reading the paper has felt special again, because I can look forward to focusing on it every Saturday morning.
Reading the paper always made me feel more caught up with the world. I know it's always a beneficial way to use my time. I love kicking off my weekend gaining a little more knowledge, feeling inspired, and happier.