Excellence Is In The Next Five Minutes

Excellence is in the Next Five Minutes - Marshall Atkinson

Did you know that “excellence is in the next five minutes”?

When you are doing something, how much thought are you giving to the actual effort you give it?

Is that the absolute BEST email you can write, or are you just firing something off in response to someone’s quick question? Will they have to respond again to get more information?

Let’s talk about that bucket of ink you are putting back on the shelf. Is it completely clean, or does it resemble a Jackson Pollock painting?

Is your first squeegee stroke as perfect as the last one on that order?

When you ship out shirts in a box, are they military-precision neat or do they look like some college students laundry basket? Is there a little piece of cardboard on top, so a box cutter can’t slice open a shirt by mistake?

Small details like these can sometimes make all the difference.


In The Next Five Minutes


That doesn’t seem like much time, does it?

But, in that span of three hundred seconds, a lot can happen.

You could misprint about 35 t-shirts because they were loaded on the cart upside down and nobody was paying attention.


In embroidery, multiple jobs were being trimmed simultaneously and they just got boxed up in the wrong packaging. Now client A is getting client B’s shirts, and vice versa.

Hope those weren’t for an event…

A customer is calling your shop. Unfortunately, nobody is picking up the phone. I guess they will call someone else.

Dang it.

In Order Entry, a job is being put through with several key details missing from the instructions. Now, several department members will have to stop what they are doing and backtrack through to find the answers.

“Hey, you gotta sec? I need to ask you about…”

Poke your head out to the shop production floor. In the next five minutes, what small details are causing major problems?

Wake up.


In The Next Five Minutes


This is your opportunity to apply more focus.

Can you or your staff be present with your work instead of daydreaming about whatever is floating through your skull?

A lot of what we do in our shops is repetitious in nature.

It’s another shirt we are loading on the machine. Another client’s file we have to prep for printing or embroidery. Ten more boxes we have to ship. The drudgery of screen reclaiming.

It is a never-ending tide of work.


Yet, distractions only add to the pile, as those mistakes need to be corrected.


In The Next Five Minutes


Is the perfect time to do something the right way.

Even if it takes longer. Sometimes slow is fast.

Hurrying up to do something wrong, never saves time. Especially when steps are skipped.

“Sorry, I missed that…I just didn’t have time.”, is the well-worn excuse that is trotted out like some half-assed badge of honor. But, I’m sure we have time to waste to do something a second time.

Give me a break.


In The Next Five Minutes


Stop talking about the game last night.

Texting that lame comment to your goofy friends regarding that pic that one of them shared.

Checking your Facebook status for the tenth time today to see how many people liked your post.

Taking yet another trip to the bathroom while you are on the clock. Yes, we know it’s ten minutes to lunch time because that’s when you disappear every day.

Instead, what if you finished that task that you are working on right now? Or got a jump on that bigger project that is due next Thursday?

Everyone takes five minutes for granted. But you can really do a lot in that span of time.


In The Next Five Minutes


I want you to do an experiment.

Set the alarm on your phone for five minutes. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Now, try to knuckle down and produce as much quality work as humanly possible in whatever you are doing. I’m not just talking about working. I’m talking about super-human, zen-like mastery of perfection, working.

Total focus.

Songs will be written about your effort. Angels will sing the tune. Yes, I’m sure someone will capture the moment and post it on Instagram.

It will be that good.

Can you do that for a mere five minutes?

I’ll bet if you really tried you could. It’s only five minutes we are talking about here. To do the absolute best you can.


Time’s up.


In The Next Five Minutes


Do it again.



“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” – Vince Lombardi

“Excellence is a gradual result of always striving to do better.” – Pat Riley

“Excellence always sells.” – Earl Nightengale



Got Five Minutes? Check Out Shirt Lab Columbus


Shirt Lab Logo


If your shop needs help with sales and marketing, then I would like you to please check out the new initiative that I’m partnering with Tom Rauen on, called Shirt Lab. This is a one-day sales and marketing learning event that will be held in different cities, one per business quarter.

Our first event will be in Columbus, Ohio on Saturday, October 27, 2018. Q1 2019 will have the event in Atlanta, Georgia. Q2 2019 will have the event in Portland, Oregon.

The Columbus event will be packed full of interactive learning, fun, networking, and new ideas that will make your sales and marketing program much stronger. We’re bringing in the top minds in the business to teach you the best industry practices for sales and marketing. You won’t find this information anywhere else in one session. Accelerate your shop’s growth by doing things differently.

Please click this link to check out our webpage to learn more about the event. You can save $200 by registering by August 31, 2018.


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Accompanying our event will be a new podcast, the Shirt Lab Answer Series. We want you to send us your biggest sales and marketing challenge for the show. We’ll have our industry guests answer them on this new weekly podcast. To submit your question, click this link.

Finally, we would love for you to join our mailing list to learn more about Shirt Lab events in your area, our podcast, and other information from the Shirt Lab Ecosphere. Simply click this link to get started.

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