At work, at home, and in everyday life, problems come up. Sometimes it can seem difficult or even impossible to solve them in a way that pleases everyone involved. However, if you go about it in a methodical way and use various proven techniques for problem solving, you will find that solutions for your problem are within your reach.

One of the most common problem solving techniques is brainstorming. By letting your mind open and your thoughts flow freely, you can generate an amazing number of ideas and possible solutions to your problem. During the brainstorming process, it is important not to judge any of the ideas. The time for judgment and analysis will come later. Right now, it is just important to put every idea out there and not interrupt the flow of ideas with negative assessments.

Once you have a list of ideas from your brainstorming session, you can sort them into categories using an affinity diagram. If you thought ahead, you would have written your brainstorming ideas on sticky notes, which are easy to move around and stick onto the various pages of the affinity diagram. Looking at your notes, start picking out common threads and topics. You will see that your seemingly disparate ideas actually have many similarities. Now that your material is organized, you can think in terms of categories and then work from there to develop a solution.

Another important technique is the root cause technique. When you are faced with a problem, you need to study it to make sure that what you see is in fact the entire problem, and not just a symptom of a larger problem. For example, let's say your problem is that sales are down. Rather than diving into an attempt to solve this problem by boosting sales, you should investigate the root causes to discover why sales are down. You may discover that your packaging has changed recently, or an ad campaign has just ended, or some other factor that contributed to or even caused the drop in sales. Armed with this additional information, you can now create and implement better, more wide-reaching solutions that address both the causes and effects of the problem.

Data gathering and analysis is also integral to effective problem solving. Not only must you gather facts and data about the problem and its effects, you must also make sure you fully understand the implications of the solution that you choose. Before you implement a solution, check to see if others have experienced the same problem. You may be able to benefit from their knowledge and experience.

You might not always have time to indulge in a lengthy brain storming session or problem analysis. If you have a time-sensitive problem, you will need to practice split second decision making techniques. Split second decision making has also been called "thin slicing," because when faced with a time crunch, you must take a thin slice of the problem's most important variables and use that to make your decision, rather than analyzing every possible facet of the problem.

Author's Bio: 

Jill Magso is a member of the Silva Team and contributes to spreading enlightened ideas and sharing teachings about meditation practices. The Silva Method encompasses a variety of powerful exercises that take you deep into Alpha and Theta levels of the mind so that you can work within your subconscious as well as your conscious mind.