My 4-year-old’s favorite book is The Three Little Pigs.
In it, two of the brothers rush through building their houses. They put in only a half effort so they can do something else. The third pig takes his time, works hard, and builds a sturdy brick home. In the end, the big bad wolf demolishes the first two homes, but can’t get past the pig with bricks.
It’s a beautiful metaphor for quality over quantity.
Are you rushing through your days, always moving to the next activity? Filling your life with stuff? Social media? Or fillers?
Or do you slow down, evaluate what’s important to you, and build a beautiful life, brick by brick?
My motto for 2023 is to dig deeper. In a world that constantly screams “more” what if we…
- Shared extraordinary moments with the people closest to us
- Worked on fewer projects but made them creative, original, and authentic
- Ate simple fresh food, and skyrocketed our energy
Think of how proud you’ll be looking back on it. How much more you get out of a life that you painstakingly create.
A life made of bricks instead of sticks.
This article will show you how!
Meaning of Quality over Quantity
First, what does the term “quality over quantity” even mean?
It’s a mindset – the idea that more is not always better.
We’ve become a society that relentlessly chases more. But we’ve forgotten that having less of higher quality is far better than surrounding yourself with low quality.
Each time you make a decision throughout your day, weigh whether your decision is making your life better, or pulling it down.
Why choose quality over quantity?
Here are even more reasons to choose quality over quantity in life:
- You clean far less when you have fewer high-quality items. Instead of becoming more efficient at organizing, eliminate the problem.
- Improved well-being. No more rushing. No more tearing your hair out over stuff everywhere. Cut your stress in half.
- Better relationships. You give your full attention to the people who matter most.
I once read a book about a super networker. He got far in his career by making connections with everyone he met. And yet, his life seemed lonely. Despite thousands who liked him, he had no partner, kids, or strong friendships. He missed the basic rule of quality over quantity.
- Clutter negatively impacts your self-control. Owning less gives you more focus and self-discipline in all areas of your life.
- As you strive for quality, you spend more time on learning and growth.
- Less stuff means fewer decisions. This frees you up for a clear head when you have something important to decide on.
- High quality products last longer. This saves money and frees up future time for things you enjoy.
Example: I used to buy a cheap computer and replace it every 3 years. Then, I switched to Apple. It was a higher upfront cost, but I now replace it every 10 years.
- You waste fewer resources, making Earth a better place to live for our children’s children.
5 Best Ways to Gain Quality over Quantity In Life
First, use these basic principles to make sure that quality surrounds you.
1. Know Your Priorities
Set clear goals for your life. Write down your values.
By having an in-depth awareness of what you want in life, you will be more focused on quality instead of quantity.
2. Show Someone Your Schedule
Most people say that family is most important to them. But when you look at their schedule from the last week, this is not true at all.
Make sure that your schedule lines up with the goals above.
Don’t tell me your values. Show me your schedule.
3. Take Full Responsibility For Your Life
We all come up with excuses and rationalizations about how our life looks.
“I have to travel for work.”
“I have kids. They come with lots of stuff.”
“I have to do everything.”
But, your life is made up of your choices. You don’t HAVE to do or accept anything. Once you take full responsibility, you realize that you can change many things.
By making different choices.
Related: Harsh Money Truths
4. Do an 80/20 Life Quality Analysis
Just as 80% of the stuff we own doesn’t get used, this 80/20 proportion plays out in the rest of our lives as well.
The Pareto Principle was introduced by Mathematician Vilfredo Pareto when he noticed that 20% of anything produces 80% of your results or problems. (Sometimes this comes down to even harsher proportions like 90/10).
The great news is that you can use this to guide your decisions and skyrocket your life quality.
Here are everyday examples in my life:
- I wear less than 20% of the clothes I own.
- In my business, I have three revenue sources. One source provides 77% of the revenue. The other two together produce 23%.
- Of the time spent with my kids, meaningful conversations come from walks, dinnertime, and car rides. This is 20% or less of our time together.
Think about your own life, stuff, and efforts. What are the very few quality things that contribute the most to your health, happiness, and success?
5. Cut down your options
As we progress through our day, we begin to experience “decision fatigue” from the sheer quantity of decisions. (This is often why mothers feel so scatter-brained.)
The problem? Most of these (paper or plastic?) aren’t one of your vital few priorities.
Cut out decisions by:
- delegating decisions to others. Johnny can decide between options for lunch.
- automating decisions. We eat the same meal plan on rotate.
- eliminating decisions. We have a work meeting on the last Wednesday (at the same place) each month.
Good Examples: Quality Over Quantity
Next, use these examples for choosing quality vs quantity in specific areas of your life.
In Love & Family Relationships
When was the last time you left a conversation fascinated? Perhaps talking to someone for hours? Let’s get that feeling back.
6. Choose experience gifts (incredible memories) over material items for holidays and birthdays.
7. Put away your phone. It’s the biggest attention thief of the 21st century. Decide that loved ones have your undivided attention.
8. Schedule time in your day, week, and year for others. This includes vacations without work. Make this quality time non-negotiable.
9. Buy fewer items, but of good quality. Cut out impulse buying.
10. Give money away. Show yourself that hoarding money isn’t necessary. There’s a lot of good you can do in the world, and living with a mindset of abundance helps you let go of quantity fears.
11. Focus on good investments in your future. As opposed to stuff that fills a momentary hole. (I.e. buy the investing book instead of the lampshade on sale.)
Quality Over Quantity At Home
12. Donate, sell, and throw away half of the stuff in your home. It will be hard, but liberating. Only put yourself around things that “spark your joy.”
13. Downsize gift giving or choose practical and consumable gifts for others. (See also Minimalist Gifts for Christmas)
14. Get off of tv and screens. Americans are exposed to thousands more ads than they used to be. Of course, it’s all companies trying to get you to buy things you don’t need.
15. Limit your friends to people who uplift you. It’s better to have one friend who inspires you than five who make you feel drained.
16. Limit social media. Instead, schedule in-face activities with your close friends.
17. Choose only things you want to do. Stop saying yes to activities because of the fear of missing out.
With Health & Happiness
18. Buy fresh, whole foods to put into your body. If you choose junk food, buy smaller quantities (Instead of buying and eating an entire “share” size. Buy the mini version.)
19. Choose quality workouts. Give it your full attention and effort, and then move on with your day.
20. Cook food yourself so that you can control the quality and quantity of what you eat.
Quality For Happiness
21. Visit fewer places, but ones that make your soul sing. Replace 5 cheap seats at an event with one front row experience. Or replace 3 lackluster weekend getaways with one unforgettable trip to the beach.
22. Practice gratitude. Be grateful for what you have and you’ll be less drawn to the siren call of buying stuff.
Write down 3 quality things you are grateful for every morning.
Related: Live Better While Saving Money
Quality Over Quantity Meaning in Business
In business, enforcing quality means that you put long-term growth over short-term profit. Your goal is to give your customers the best value and experience possible. In turn, they’ll reward you with their loyalty.
Quality Examples: Business & Work
23. Work on Fewer Projects. And then make them the absolute best that you can. This requires the skill of saying “no” to other shiny opportunities.
25. Do an 80/20 business analysis. Find out what tasks you perform that grow your students’ competency, gain traffic, or generate income. Then, work on eliminating tasks that don’t contribute.
26. Seek Feedback. This may be through constructive criticism, or other measurements that help you see how to improve your work. You can’t improve what you don’t measure. Using these will ensure that quality leaves your hands every time.
27. Learn Constantly. When your focus is quality, you climb the mountain of growth. And then you give yourself time to refine and enhance what you put out into the world.
28. Be patient. Focusing on long term progress is difficult because it takes energy, time, and endurance. But in the world of high quality, these are a must.
29. Pay attention to the details: Small things often make a big difference in the overall quality of a project. Take a meticulous approach.
30. Acknowledge the commitment you have for quality. Most people rush through life giving the least amount of effort possible. You are different! Reward yourself as motivation to maintain your unique level of extraordinary.
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