Often we're fixing a problem with a band-aid to manage a moment. But what if at the end of the day, we took the time to look at the big picture? We could problem-solve the challenge, giving our brain time to process what would prevent a repeat.
This article was originally published on November 26, 2016, and has been updated.
We probably don't realize it, but we all problem-solve constantly every day.
Think about it…
We make numerous decisions daily; these are all forms of problem-solving in one way or another!
Naturally, when faced with a challenge, we tend to want to solve it as quickly as possible.
Usually, our quick skills fix that momentary issue, and we move on.
But what about problem-solving and the BIG picture?
You know, many decisions and situations can't be fixed in the blink of an eye. How can we improve these skills on a grander scale?
Once we manage more significant or higher stake problems, we can help prevent some of those challenges from reoccurring – or we can at least allow ourselves to take the appropriate time needed to make a critical decision instead of rushing.
Here are four things to remember about the power of daily problem-solving.
Set aside time for problem-solving every day
One of the critical self-management strategies I teach is to 'set aside time in your day for problem-solving.'
Understandably, not all issues can be solved quickly, and some must take priority and be solved immediately. But many items can be detained for a more convenient time in the day.
Developing a plan to manage problems is a win-win situation for all parties involved.
We must take the time to clear our minds and really focus on the situation and ONLY that situation.
We know how important it is to manage our emotions when making decisions: we're at our very best when we don't allow our feelings to guide our choices.
When we set aside time to focus on problem-solving without emotions clouding the issue, our skills improve as well as our emotional intelligence.
Process your emotions throughout the day
From the moment we awake until the time we close our eyes at the end of the day, we experience thousands of emotions, some we aren't even aware of.
A big part of our day is moving through these feelings and emotions.
Sometimes we make decisions without appropriate planning due to our busy schedules and emerging emotions. When this happens continually, it can negatively affect the quality of our work and impact future opportunities.
Our daily accomplishments and our success can be mainly contingent upon how we work through the various challenges in our day. Without question, the way we process and manage our emotions benefits the way we work through problems.
Managers highly value team members who are problem solvers
Managing your emotions, understanding the feelings of others, and finding a successful approach to resolving issues will open the door to personal success.
When you can't work through issues that arise efficiently and effectively, add them to your list for your daily scheduled time.
Developing time to build these skills will make you a more valuable team member.
Once you get into the habit of planning this way, you'll save time and be far more effective at making decisions. With this practice, you won't allow problems to derail you continuously during your busy day.
This type of compartmentalizing helps you stay focused and be productive — and it will be noticed by your managers, too!
Make a plan to problem-solve
Moving forward, plan to set aside a minimum of 15 minutes in your daily schedule to focus on problem-solving.
Keep a list of items you need to review each day and check them off as you work through them during your scheduled planning time.
Once you set the time in your calendar to problem-solve, also need to do the following:
- Turn off your cell phone.
- Walk away from your computer.
- Find a spot where you won't be disturbed.
Ensure that you have a quiet area that is free of disruptions and distractions of any kind!
That way, you can focus on the problems with an objective view without emotion affecting mindful planning and clear thinking.
Of course, as you develop your daily problem-solving routine, you'll need to use your wealth of skills to work through the problems. But it's much easier when you are in the correct mindset, and that's all part of learning to manage your emotions.
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