Mastering Your Day With Shannon Cornelius
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m Shannon, owner + designer of Plum Street Prints. I grew up in Seattle with a love for art, design, marketing, and business. I attended BYU where I double-majored in Advertising & English. During college I spent a semester abroad in London, studying English literature & art – one of the best experiences in my life. I am still inspired by the beauty of new places & cultures. After college I worked in Advertising as a brand planner while also earning a master’s degree in Humanities. You could say I have a lot of interests! I left my career in advertising to be home when I had my first baby (best decision I ever made!), but I was itching to start something creative. Plum Street Prints is an online shop specializing in phone cases, notebooks, journals, notepads, prints, & art. We were originally known for our phone cases which have been featured in print and across the web, specifically by many fashion icons + bloggers, like Blair Eadie of the popular Atlantic-Pacific blog (Merchandise Manager for Tory Burch) and Suze Yalof-Schwartz (former Fashion Editor for Glamour magazine), plus Amber Fillerup of The Barefoot Blonde & many others. We have also been featured on MSNBC's "The Look" on the Today Show. We now have ventured into many other products like planners, high quality canvas art paintings, notebooks, journals, gift wrap, planning notepads, and more. We sell our products primarily on our site plumstreetprints.com but also have several partnerships with other brands and shops. Many of our customers are repeat customers because we work hard to ensure a good quality yet lovely product, and superior customer service!
I am a wife, chocolate eater, mom to 3 of the cutest little blondies, & lover of all things domestic.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I wake up early, around 5-5:20 am, read my scriptures, exercise, and then spend a couple minutes catching up on any emails or quick business requests. I get ready for the day, then get my kids up. From this point I have to put work issues on hold until the afternoon and switch into mom mode. We have breakfast, do our chores, I read scriptures with the kids, and then take the kids to school. My oldest is in kindergarten and my younger two rotate between preschool, sports and dance classes, and playdates in the morning. We get home and have lunch and then my kids have an afternoon quiet time. During quiet time my youngest naps and my 4 year-old colors, does projects, and plays in her room. Quiet time is a great break from the craziness of the day with 3 kids and it's always so fun for me to switch gears into work mode. I get going on my to-do list for my business. This includes answering emails, if needed working with my web developer on any site issues, working on collaborations, talking with suppliers, and fulfilling orders. I also use this time to clean up different areas of the house. After our quiet time I switch gears yet again - time to get dinner ready, play in the backyard with my kids, and get anything planned for the evening. This is our family time, when my husband gets home from work, we eat dinner together, clean up, have books and bath time and bed. After the kids are down, I'm back in my office working again for the night. This includes fulfilling orders, working on new products and design, customer service, collaborations, invoices, accounting reports, and other business items. Sometimes on Sundays I'll paint a little but I try to keep this day away from my computer.
Before bed I take 5-10 minutes to plan out my schedule, tasks, and must-do items for the next day. This helps my life so much! I quickly realized as a mom you can't plan for everything, but if you plan for what you can it makes everything run more smoothly.
When do you have your scripture study and how do you make sure it gets done?
I read my scriptures first thing in the morning when I wake up. I find my days get so busy that I have to get it done first thing! When I clean in the middle of the day I also like listening to General Conference talks (speeches given semi-annually by church leaders in my faith). It really helps recharge my spiritual batteries.
What do you do to handle a particularly stressful day?
I call my sister! My sister is an amazing mom and friend. I'm so lucky to have her. She gives the best advice on pretty much any subject and is so strong in her faith, it strengthens me.
What are your daily essentials? (The few things you feel you need each day in order to function)
Scripture reading, a clean kitchen, and time with my family.
What is the most important part of your day as a family?
We always make time for family dinner. We have a busy family life with kids activities and lessons, my husband's busy career, my business, and our church, but we always make time for dinner as a family. I love to cook so this is fun for me, but even on the nights when we just have sandwiches, we still eat together.
How do you go about keeping your house clean?
I listen to General Conference talks or call a friend on the phone. This makes the cleaning pass quickly and easily! The kitchen and living areas are essentials every day to clean, but in addition to that I try to clean one additional area every day like bathrooms, bedrooms, playroom, etc.
How do you make sure you’re progressing as an individual?
I like to plan out goals for my year. Day to day I have a hard time knowing if I'm reaching these goals, but if I stick with them I find it more clear what I'm accomplishing. In our Plum Street Planner, which I use daily, there is a yearly goal planning section at the front. I use this for my major yearly goals. Then each week I use the weekly layouts to write out my weekly tasks. I try to make sure those weekly goals align with my overall yearly goals.
How do you make sure God is at the center?
Attending church weekly is a big part of our family life. Our church is 3 hours long, which can be a lot for kids but we find they come away learning so much at a young age, and really desiring to do good. After church at Sunday dinner each week we check in about what we each learned. In addition to church, during the week we make sure to have scripture study, prayer, and frequent talks with our kids about our faith. Also General Conference (the semi-annual conference for our church) is a great time for me to reset spiritual goals. After every General Conference my husband and I set personal and family goals.
How do you keep a strong relationship with your spouse?
We try to set aside every Friday night as a date or couples night and every Sunday night for weekly planning. It is hard to find time with a busy young family ... we find we have to set these times to make sure we have some quality time.
How do you focus on Christ in your home throughout the week?
I am so grateful for Family Home Evening, a program in my faith where we set aside Monday nights to just spend time with our families. It really forces us to have time together each week, even when kids are having tantrums or fits. On Sunday nights during dinner every week we also have each person talk about what they learned at church. I love this little tradition!
How do you balance all of your roles?
I don't! It's always a juggling act.
Was there a time in your life where you struggled with this? What did you do to adapt?
I once went to a leadership training for the women’s organization of my church and heard a talk discuss balance. The speaker stated how we often think of balance as everything in our life given equal time. She said, however, that the gospel and our families should have more time and priority than other things in our life. I don't know if everything could ever be in balance perfectly with a big family, but if we are spending time focusing on the gospel and our family, I feel like it's as close as it can be.
Anything else you want to share or any tips that you have found particularly useful?
I use a daily planner religiously (our Plum Street Planners are particularly my fave). Every night I take time to plan out the next day. Writing things down really takes the stress of it out of my mind. We also use a shared family calendar on our iPhones to sync our family activities so my husband and I both have them on our calendar. We use Apple iCal that syncs to both of our Gmail accounts—so whether we’re on the computer or on the go we can add items and see each other’s. I can add a kindergarten performance so it shows up on mine and my husband's calendar, or he can see my girls' night out or church activity on my calendar—this allows us to easily know when to schedule things. For my business tasks and day-to-day tasks with my kids I use my planner.
I would also say do what works for you. If it works best for you to read your scriptures early, do that. If it works best to do it in the afternoon, do that! If it's best for you to spend a really long chunk of time working every day, and then putting work away for the other half of the day, do that. If it works best for you to only spend one day a week responding to customers, do that. If you need to be creating new posts or products every day, then find time to make that a priority. I've found time and time again, not just with planning, when I'm true to what works for me, it will be successful. Don't do what works best for anyone else just because you feel like you should. Try it out and if it works great, but if not, find what works for you.
Lastly, really be strict with yourself on social media time. As soon as I started doing this I saw my business grow a lot because I was more focused. I don't scroll through my feeds anymore. When I want to look up a friend or a business, I just go to that page. When I post, I take the time for that and then get off. I also turned off my notifications on my phone. Sometimes I just put my phone in a drawer or upstairs to have some time without it. Of course I always respond to questions and requests, but making my time more planned in social media has helped my business a lot. Not only does it free up time, but I think when we spend all our time focused on what others are doing it's hard for us to find our own voice or talent. Just focus on being your best! Be deliberate about your time.
You can connect with Shannon on Instagram @plumstreetprints, or visit her at http://plumstreetprints.com/