problem solving

Learning creative ways for problem solving


Problem solving can be tough. It gets overwhelming sometimes to even know where to start from therefore it is important to break the situation up and use a model for problem solving. We will provide you with a 6 step model that can help with problem solving.

6 step problem solving method:

Recognize the problem

An individual first needs to recognize there is a problem before the problem solving process can begin. This sounds easy but it can be hard to identify we are even having an issue.

Since I got a job I have never been able to save any money. Every paycheque would be spent on going out, uber, and vacations. I would keep trying to work harder but there would still be no saving. I had to step away from the situation to recognize that there was a problem.

Define the problem

Ask yourself questions about the problem. What? Who? Where? When? Why? How? To gather information to define what the problem actually is.

I would complain about not having as much money as my co-workers and friends but the truth was I was spending more than my means. When I sat down to define the problem it became clear that I was spending well over my means and not saving enough.

Generate ideas

This is the stage you brainstorm all your ideas. Take a notepad or a whiteboard and just start writing all the solutions that come to your mind. They all might not be great solutions and that is okay for the brainstorming stage they are just your ideas.

For my spending problem, I brainstormed the following ideas

  1. Giving myself an allowance so I stick to a budget
  2. Setting a budget for saving
  3. Not allowing myself to shop
  4. Not allowing myself to use uber
  5. Ordering out just once a week
  6. Cooking more food at home
  7. Buying groceries
  8. Directly transferring one paycheque to my saving
  9. Taking cash out and using that instead of my credit card

Make a decision

Now in the decision-making, you look at all your ideas and choose the one you feel is fit for the situation. You can choose based on accessibility, cost, time, resources, or your own values and thinking.

For me, the idea that I thought would work best for me was giving myself a budget.

Implement the decision

This is where your action plan comes in how are you going to implement the decision you made. This also involves evaluating the problems that will occur.

For me, my action plan was that I would give myself an allowance of $1000 for a month that I could do anything with.

Evaluation the last step of problem solving

This the stage that occurs when you evaluate whether the plan was a success or a failure. Do you need to go back to any of the steps or restart? You can reflect on your process and how you felt about it.

For me the budgeting and giving myself an allowance worked. I was able to stick to the budget I set for myself and started spending within my means. This increased the amount of saved. If the idea I had chosen didn’t work I could back to the generating ideas stage. And if none of the ideas I worked maybe there was an issue with the defining the problem stage.

Now that you have learned to problem solve think of the issues you are having and get started on solving them.

Reminder: Be patient with yourselves you might have to go back on steps and things might not work out but you need to keep going and you will achieve your goals.

Reference: The New Dynamics of Life Skills Coaching -YWCA


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