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Break all the rules when problem solving

‘If you can’t find a solution to a problem, then you are following the rules’.

I don’t know who said this first, but it is a great quote to remind you that problem solving is not about doing things as they have always been done. Especially now, with technology at our disposal, problems need to be solved quickly and most likely non-traditionally.

If you are stuck on something, here are five ways to look at a problem that might just get you going again.

1.    Think about something else and sleep on it! While this might seem counterintuitive, sometimes not thinking about a problem allows our sub conscious to kick in when we are asleep or relaxed to give us a left of centre solution. So stop stressing and start relaxing or snoozing, you might find the answer is closer than you think!

2.    Surf the web. You know what they say, there is no such thing as a new idea. Most likely someone has encountered the same problem as you in the past. Google it and see what comes of it, read blogs and search related phrases – your research may just find you the result via someone else’s experience.

3.    Get some input from someone you respect professionally. This is most likely not someone you work with day to day, as you can already anticipate how they think and solve problems. Find someone outside your day to day world and comfort zone, ask them would they mind giving you their opinion. Most times people are happy to help and give their opinion, at no cost to you.

4.    Brainstorm options on paper. At times putting solutions down as dot points on paper can make you see which one makes most sense. It does not matter how crazy the solution, just get it down on paper and start to analyse the options.

5.    Minimise your stress around the problem via physical activity. You tend to think more clearly when you have undergone strenuous exercise, not to mention having your endorphins pumping means you are likely to be more positive and upbeat, which is a great frame of mind to problem solve in.

There is always an answer to every problem you face, especially if you don’t follow the rules and go about solving it in your own unique way.

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