Quality Tools for Quality of Life


Our local ASQ members have indicated an interest in speakers discussing quality of life, so I’m putting something together for next month.  New year, new resolutions…

I like using Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to discuss quality of life, but the HBR assessment categories crossover well.

  • Health & Well-Being
  • Enjoyment & Satisfaction
  • Focus & Prioritization
  • Meaning & Significance

I took the HBR assessment some time ago and had posted separately.  There’s another from The Energy Project I haven’t taken yet.  The GROW assessment includes 135 questions that outline your well-being in multiple areas.  With an 18 page report and ongoing tracking capabilities, this one provides enough feedback for any quality geek to appreciate.  “GROW uses the scientific literature to suggest best practice ways for you to develop wellbeing.”

Digging into the material further, there seemed to be a connection with the quality tools we’re already using at work.  Starting with an assessment as noted above sure seemed familiar.

I’m attempting to collect as many uses of quality tools to improve quality of life as possible.  Here’s what I’ve got so far:

  • Brainstorm – What are your goals in 1yr, 5 yrs and your lifetime?  Consider: Career, Financial, Education, Family, Attitude, Physical, etc.
  • Audit yourself. Personal SWOT analysis is always a win.
  • Use an affinity diagram to group brainstormed ideas or SWOT  information… Focus on the 20%. Pareto always fits.
  • Set SMART goals – Create calendar reminders to assess and improve as necessary.
  • Use an app & or set calendar reminders to walk – Work up to 10,000 steps per day. This is more challenging than I thought.
  • Flowchart your day or specific activity to identify areas of improvement.
  • Use a Grid Analysis for important decision making.  I’ve posted examples for selecting suppliers and use a group vacation planning example in my management class.
  • Develop a personal mission statement – Hang it up.  A friend of mine wrote it on her bathroom mirror.
  • Use ISO 26000 as  a guideline for personal social responsibility – Audit yourself.  I did this recently and discussed it in Quality Progress. 
  • Use To-Do lists to manage time. Each day, identify activities that focus on both short and long-term action items.  I’ve got a whole post of checklist resources here.
  • Keep a food journal for a week.  Use a spreadsheet to analyze the results.  Have fun with bar charts and all kinds of fun tools.
  • Track health data with wearable technology, such as Fitbit.  Destroy the statistic from The Energy Project indicating “58% of people say there are significant gaps between what they say is important in their life and how they actually live.”
  • Use Lifehacker’s Daily Personal Inventory Form to identify root causes.
  • 3-to-1 ratio – Keep a daily list of 3 things your thankful for. “Research shows you’ll be more resilient to adversity and better able to achieve things.”


  • Someone from the ASQ LinkedIn Group suggested 5 Why, which you could use anytime you need to consider all aspects of a situation and need to get to the root of a problem.  
  • Excellent TEDx on “The happy secret to better work.

Additional LinkedIn ASQ Group comments include:

  • “Root Cause Analysis of Quarrel between husband and wife by using Ishikawa diagram”
  • “Quality of Life could be achieved / improved by numerous Quality Tools: beginning with subscribing to a quality standard, then devising your process life map, applying rules to live by, integrating PDCA, many forms of CAPA, and internal auditing to measure and adjust your effectiveness.”


  1. Aaron spearin  •  Jan 9, 2014 @12:18 pm

    Career planning Hoshin.
    Home projects Importance vs. Urgency analysis.
    Tupperware 5S.
    Life balance TRIZ anslysis

  2. jenn  •  Jan 13, 2014 @9:43 am

    Tupperware 5S! Love these!

    Thank you. 🙂

  3. Mikael  •  Jan 13, 2014 @5:39 am

    What are you looking for and who is the target group? Even a math formular to optimize a product, can be seen as a tool for quality of life, so there is from here to the moon. Or are u looking for a sextoy…?

    If u want the philosophy view on it, go find a professionel in this field, no engineers. Or perhaps a terapeut.
    Also In my country the Business School have people working with philosophy and business, perhaps a business school in your country do this as well.

  4. jenn  •  Jan 13, 2014 @9:42 am

    I’ve gotten great feedback from the engineers I targeted. In fact, the feedback has exceeded my expectations in many ways! I do think engineers are a great choice to provide feedback on using quality tools and the application of those tools outside of the workplace.

  5. Shaun Simonson  •  Jan 13, 2014 @9:17 am

    This caught my attention in a big way.

    I am a quality professional of 20+ years. About two years ago I started looking at using Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as a model for applying quality tools to my personal life. In many ways it has been a big success for me and in others I am still looking for better ways to improve. I have been doing this as a hobby because I too felt quality tools should be useful outside of work… plus, the more I understand their application the better I will be able to apply them anywhere, regardless…

    What caught my attention (besides the title of your ASQ post) was your reference to Maslow. Can or would you be willing to share some of your thoughts about the Hierarchy of Needs?

    BTW, one tool I am trying to use that I did not see mentioned by others is 5S at home… I am more focused on the first 3S’s than the latter ones because teamwork at home appears to be a little different than at work 😉

    Thank you!

  6. jenn  •  Jan 13, 2014 @9:39 am

    I love the idea of 5S in the home!

    Regarding Maslow, I think the Hierarchy represents QOL because although the definition is subjective, the Hierarchy says it’s basically having our needs met (in a specific order, of course). That could apply to any or all of us. We could even also pull in the order of things by arguing QOL follows the same.

    I thought about it more when I noticed HBR’s QOL categories. Health & well-being is certainly the “lower order needs” and addresses QOL in the areas of getting enough sleep, nutrition, activity, etc. All of these things have been tied to increased QOL and have direct benefits on productivity and the general workplace.

    The three other categories listed by HBR directly tie-in to Maslow’s “higher order needs,” with meaning & significance relatable to self-actualization.

    To your point also… I was teaching a management class a few years back, and I had started doing more applied activities at the time. I discovered very quickly that teaching people how to apply a grid analysis to selecting suppliers is no where near as effective as teaching them how to use a grid analysis within a group of friends to decide on a vacation spot. The personal application is just easier to process, and it makes using that tool for supplier selection in the future that much easier.

    I appreciate your comments. 🙂