Problem Solving Techniques: 6 Steps, Method & Tips
No matter what you do in life you will always encounter problems. It’s a necessary truth that life isn’t as simple as 1, 2, 3 - there will always be a complication.
But the true test of a character isn’t how many problems you can face, but how many problems you can solve.
“Problem solving” is a skill set that is often listed on job advertisements. But the truth is that every job out there requires some level of critical thinking and finding potential solutions to issues.
So how do you go about tackling problem solving?
We’ve put together a list of the best 6 problem solving techniques that can help ease your troubles and help you to make a molehill out of a mountain.
Here’s What We’ll Cover:
The 6 Best Problem Solving Techniques
It sounds simple but no matter how difficult a problem may seem, breathing is key. Remembering to breathe is perhaps the most effective solution to facing any issue.
When you’re confronted with a problem, you may feel the need to come up with a potential solution straight away. This can lead you to become overwhelmed and stressed. So take a second to relax, breathe deeply and sometimes the answer can come to you.
2. Ask Questions
When you’re confronted with an issue, it’s important to ask questions. This is a part of the pre-problem-solving stage that allows your brain to come up with ideas and scenarios that may help.
For example, ask yourself if you’ve solved a similar problem before. Ask if there are rules that can be broken or changed. Ask if there are any unnecessary roadblocks that can be removed.
The more questions that you ask, the easier a problem can become.
3. Define the Problem
It can be very tempting to jump straight into finding a solution. But often it’s much better to first define the issue at hand. If you don’t properly understand the problem, the solution that you jump to could end up making things worse.
Make sure all of the issues are fully explored and clearly defined before you start to create a solution. This can save a huge amount of effort and time further down the road.
4. Share the Problem
Problem solving can be a collaborative process. As the saying goes; a problem shared is a problem halved.
It’s important to see an issue from a number of different perspectives instead of just focusing on it through your own lens. Being able to put yourself into other people’s shoes can demystify something that you may have previously been struggling with.
It’s also important to get the right perspective. Think of who the problem is affecting and take their views into consideration. If you’re asking somebody who isn’t affected or has no relation to the issue then you won’t get valuable feedback.
One of the most effective ways to tackle a problem is through brainstorming.
The aim is to generate as many fresh ideas as you can where you can identify and then remove a problem. The aim isn’t for every idea to be perfect. You will instead want to get as many creative ideas down as possible and then work through them all until you find a number of creative solutions.
6. Take a Break
When we’re dealing with a particularly complicated issue, we can often get bogged down in the mental process.
Our brains often need time and space to breathe. Your brain is always constantly working in the background. So when you’re not actively thinking about an issue you can often end up finding the answer. Similar to how it can be impossible to remember the name of a song until you stop trying and it just pops into your head.
So take a break from the problem and let your brain passively contemplate the answer.
Problems are constantly appearing and they will always constantly appear - so there’s no getting away from facing the issues. That’s why it’s so important to have a number of problem solving techniques to help you tackle any problem that comes your way.
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