As a newspaper editor, I never know what the day will bring. A precise daily schedule can be turned on its head when a breaking news story pops up. Expect the unexpected in this business.
That’s why I like to control what I can control. I’m a man who likes routine.
I get up at 5 a.m. and do things in the same order every day — make coffee, take the dog out, perform stretching exercises, watch ESPN’s “SportsCenter” while I eat cold cereal for breakfast. I finish a cup of coffee before I wake my wife. It works. If I do something out of order, who knows what I might forget. I may not remember to go to work.
I take the same route to work each day, but a different route home each day. We’ll call that mixing it up a bit. I’m concerned about this summer because the bridge I cross each day in Altoona will be closed for construction for three months. This may take some deep cleansing breaths when I get in the car.
At work by 7 a.m., I like to get routine chores out of the way early. No one is around to interrupt me as I set schedules for the day for reporters, designers and such. When reporters and other staff members start to roll in, I’m ready for any breaking news or unadvertised stories that pop up. You know, a break in my routine.
At noon, I run 4.7 miles with guys I’ve run with, for the most part, for nearly 30 years. We run at the same time each day, the same route, the same distance, in the same direction. Sadly, the pace is also the same — slow. Oh sure, the weather can range from 90 degrees in July to below zero in January, but the normalcy is calming. Noon meetings can really throw my day off.
Routine is definitely a part of my vacation escapes. For more than 20 years, my family vacationed at the same resort on the Chippewa Flowage east of Hayward. We even stopped at the same Birchwood restaurant for breakfast during the drive. We always went the last week of July and saw the same vacationers each year from Chicago, Muskego and Milwaukee at our resort. It was great, like old home week every year.
When we started taking winter vacations to warmer climates, we traveled to the same island in Mexico for four straight years. When we made a radical decision to leave the Yucatan, we headed to the Atlantic Ocean in Florida. Next month, we’ll be back on the same barrier island on the Treasure Coast for the fourth consecutive April. My wife and I love it because we know where we’re going, which outdoor restaurants we like.
Some may call my passion for routine boring. My running mates chide me about it. They think I’m stuck in a rut, scared to venture out to try new adventures. I’ve been to Hawaii, Boston, the Outer Banks and other “new” places. I enjoyed them.
But I think I’ll stick with my routine.
Johnson is the Leader-Telegram’s editor.