Problem Solving (series)

How to Navigate Any Problem with Ease Part Four

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Picture Courtesy of Shutterstock

 

Last week we looked at the importance of thorough brainstorming and assessing the pros and cons when problem solving. This week we look at how to make a step by step plan, take action and the review stage in the problem solving process.

 

Step Four – Plan how to carry out your solutions

 

This step is critical and the more planning you put in, the less likely it is that something will go awry. Ask yourself the following questions and answer them fully:

 

  • What needs to be done?
  • In what order?
  • How am I going to do it?
  • Is anyone else involved?
  • Have I asked them to help yet? (If not, ask now)

 

Most importantly, always accommodate for the unexpected and have a back-up plan (repeat the questions above for your back-up plan)! For example, if I don’t stick to my budget this month I have to cut my spending next month or if I there aren’t any suitable jobs locally I will look for work in a wider area whereby I may need to commute.

 

Step Five – Action

 

Put your plan into action and don’t forget that if anything goes awry you still have that all important back-up plan!

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How to Navigate Any Problem with Ease Part Three

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Picture Courtesy of Shutterstock

 

Last week we looked at what key questions to ask when defining a problem. This week we examine the importance of brainstorming and weighing up the pros and cons.

 

Step Two – Brainstorm Possible Solutions

 

This is the moment to think of as many possible solutions – however ridiculous they might at first appear – and write them all down. Try to think laterally, remembering how you defined the problem in the first place.

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How to Navigate Any Problem with Ease Part Two

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Picture Courtesy of Shutterstock

 

Before you start getting excited to begin solving a problem, there is a handy little technique I learnt that will help you decipher whether or not you need to problem solve your current predicament and it’s called the worry chart. Use these questions whenever you believe you have a problem and it will reveal whether you need to stop worrying about it and let it go or begin problem solving.

 

WORRY CHART

 

Is it happening now?

Yes – go to next question

No – let it go

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How to Navigate Any Problem with Ease Part One

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Picture Courtesy of Shutterstock

 

Like anyone, I have had my fair share of problems. I have had conflict in relationships. I have had competing demands on my time. I have had forks in the road where I have had to choose what to do. I have always weighed up the pros and cons but recently I went over my therapy notes and found in-depth material on problem solving that was invaluable.

 

I’m embarrassed to say that in recent years I haven’t written my problem solving out however when I went through the steps I realised that I did several of them automatically, I suspect because I learnt them formally in 2009 and am so familiar with them. Nevertheless, since re-reading my notes I have made a commitment to write my problem solving down so as to greater enhance my problem solving process.

 

The truth is that we all face problems at some point or another but I firmly believe that it is our response to problems that largely determines the quality of our lives, with a calm and logical approach the best by far. Having a thorough methodology to problem solving allows us to feel more in control and enables us to be more logical in making decisions.

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