About 15 years ago a friend shared this problem solving process with me. I liked it so much that I wrote it down in my planner and have referred to it many times since then. See what you think.
- Identify the problem.
- Gather information about the problem (facts, assumptions, for example).
- List possible solutions.
- Evaluate solutions.
- Finalize solution (work out details).
- Implement solution.
Here’s a sample of how to use the steps:
Identify the problem:
- Can’t get my housework done each week.
Gather information about the problem (facts, assumptions, for example):
- Some weeks I get it done and some weeks I don’t.
- I need to get it done each week.
- I don’t have enough time.
- I don’t really want to do it.
- I hate housework.
- I don’t have the right tools – my vacuum cleaner is broken. I can’t find the feather duster and I’m out of windex.
- It’s a waste of time because my family just messes it up anyway.
List possible solutions:
- Hire a housekeeper.
- Lower my standards.
- Buy some new cleaning supplies and a vacuum.
- Don’t clean.
- Get the family to help.
- Make a cleaning schedule.
- Hire a housekeeper – can’t afford to
- Lower my standards – probably a good idea. I’m not getting it done anyway, so anything I do is going to be better than nothing.
- Buy some new cleaning supplies and a vacuum – I can do that and probably need to anyway.
- Don’t clean – I don’t want the health department called so this is not a good option.
- Get the family to help – definitely need to do this.
- Make a cleaning schedule – this is probably what I need to do.
Finalize solution (work out details).
- I’m going to make a simple cleaning schedule and the whole family is going to work together on Saturday mornings to get it done. The cleaning schedule isn’t as thorough as I would like, but it’s better than nothing. And if we all work together, we can get it done quicker.
- Discussed the cleaning schedule at dinner and this Saturday will be our first family cleaning session.
There are other ways to problem solve, and it doesn’t matter which one you use. The important thing is that if something isn’t working, figure out why it isn’t working and try to fix it.