I am very fortunate to get more work than I can take these days, and being spread so thin, it's important for me to work overtime to maintain balance in my life--and sanity for that matter.
My solution: A solid morning routine and the Panera office.
Each morning I wake up at 6 AM and start my day with my Bible study. I find that spending time with God almost magically gets my priorities for the day in line. My heart and mind become more capable of handling the day's events and I'm less irritable, stressed, and overwhelmed.
Next, I try (and only do it about half the time if not less) to workout for 20-30 minutes in the morning to get the adrenaline flowing. I always feel so much better physically after a quick workout. It's great to achieve a sense of accomplishment before the kids even wake up.
Two days a week, I schedule a babysitter to watch the kids from 9 AM to 3 PM and I work out of the Panera office. It's a great location. The dining room is large, so I can usually find a nice, quiet table next to an electrical outlet to set up shop. With a bagel and OJ for breakfast (ya gotta get something), I'm ready to tackle the day's work: grading papers, planning classes, emailing students, and whatever else is on the menu.
To accompany my laptop, I have my husband's Verizon card, so I'm sure to always have a reliable signal. I have a portable, cordless mouse that plugs in easily, and all my files on my beloved flash drive. I wheel in my office in a black, leather computer case, armed with my textbooks, papers, and, of course, my microphone in case I need to correspond with a student via Skype. I've also been known to record a podcast or two.
My assistant, the iPhone, comes with me so I can make phone calls, check my To Do List on reQall, record voice memos, or check my schedule for what's in store that week. I juggle personal tasks with iPhone applications like Shopper, where I can add to my grocery list and Lose It, where I can log in my calories.
The time I spend at Panera is precious: it's my time to get caught up and refresh so that I can be a better, more focused mom at home with my kids. I'd better hit publish and get to work: my babysitter's on the clock and I need to get to work.