April is National Financial Literacy Month and recognized in the United States in an effort to teach Americans how to establish and maintain healthy financial habits. Problem solving is an important skill and can make a huge difference in your career and your life. It is a process of discovering, analyzing and solving problems. The goal is to overcome obstacles and find the best solution to resolve the problem. It is important to develop a strategy to solve a problem.
Defining the problem
How do you define the problem? As you can imagine, this the hardest part of problem solving. What are you trying to achieve? The clearer the understanding of the problem the more likely you will find the solution. Summarize the elements that you know about the problem. Describe the cause of the problem in order to solve the problem. If you were trying to improve your writing, you would probably find out that you do not read enough or practice writing.
Analyze the problem
What are the causes and effects of the problem? What are the symptoms of the problem? What are the existing methods to solve this problem? Are there any limitations of these methods? Are there obstacles keeping you from achieving the goals? This is where you gather information. You don’t like writing because you don’t have the skills. To improve writing skills, you have to be exposed to good writing and practice those skills.
Finding possible solutions
Every problem has more than one solution. Generate a number of possible solutions. Don’t evaluate the solutions yet. Every solution is worthy of consideration. Which solution is most likely to solve the problem for the long term? What is the risk associated with each solution? One solution is to increase reading and practicing writing. Is there a risk with this solution? It takes time and requires someone to evaluate the writing.
What should the outcome look like? What will the situation look like when the problem is solved? What steps will be taken to implement the best alternative to solving the problem? What resources will you need in terms of people, money and facilities? How much time will you need to implement the solution? How many books, or how long will you need to read before it impacts your writing? How much practice do you need to affect your writing? It is different for everyone!
Monitor your efforts. Monitor your progress. Will your plan of completing these tasks occur on schedule? What do you do if you cannot complete on schedule. Like any plan, you monitor, and adjust to meet the goals of the plan. Adjusting your efforts may mean working on skills that that help with the overall goal. Part of improving your writing may mean improving your reading skills. Periodically, evaluating the results of the plan will be evaluating the writing.
Does every problem require this exhaustive process? No, of course not! This is for problems that have a long term consequences. It can be personal, financial, business or interpersonal problems. It can range from a career choice, starting a business, running a business or social interaction. Each of these areas can expand into management, financial, both personal and business and every area of your life. Problem solving is not limited to certain parts of our lives. These are skills that everyone should have and demonstrate in all parts of our lives. These set of skills improve your personal productivity. What do you do about improving your problem solving skills? How do you handle problems?
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