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Feeling stuck? Try this six stage problem-solving process

21st January 2019 | Beverly Landais

Are you struggling to find a way through a complicated issue? You are more resourceful than you think. Set yourself up for success by taking a walk outside, preferably in a green space. Pause and look around you. Enjoy a few nourishing deep breaths. Stop and think about a time you successfully deal with a problem. What strengths did you use? Who gave you support? What resources did you tap? How can you use this experience to help you now? Return refreshed to the issue that is troubling you. Now you are better resourced and motivated to deal with it. 

Next, find a quiet space where you will be undisturbed. Get out a sheet of paper and a pen. Set a time limit so that you can focus. Perhaps use time chunking technique to avoid excess rumination. Then try applying the six stages of this problem-solving process: 

1. Write down the issue/problem. Keep going until there is nothing left to write then ask 'what else?' This question will encourage you to think deeply and stimulate your creativity. 

2. Review what you have written. Circle things that are linked so that you can identify patterns. 

3. Ask 'what will matter in a year?' Cross out the things that don't meet this challenge. Focus on the things that do. 

4. Take the first issue. Ask 'what might be a different way to frame this situation?' Then write down all the possible ways forward. Avoid self-editing. Let it flow. 

5. Identify which of the ideas you can begin to implement. Save the other good ideas for later. Enjoy a laugh at the more extreme ones (it releases tension). 

6. Commit to begin today with the one idea that you have identified. Take a first step towards gaining control of the issue. Review your progress in 7 days. What have you learnt? How can you further improve the situation? What is 'good enough'? 

21st January 2019 | Beverly Landais

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