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How to Solve a Problem in Five Steps

Wednesday, 29 Jul 2015
How to Solve a Problem in Five Steps

Who doesn’t have a problem that needs sorting out? Life throws us challenges from time to time and yes I know some of you love to fix things!

But what if that problem just won’t go away or is snowballing and maybe causing you enormous stress or anxiety?

You’ve tried avoiding it, ignoring it and procrastinating, but the problem just keeps coming back bigger than ever.

It can really help to go through a process to work out possible solutions and probably one you haven’t even thought of. Even better to write them down. So paper and pens to the ready:


Step 1

Step 1: Be clear about the problem

It is very common to generalise the problem, for example, ‘I am stressed at work’ and throw in your opinions. For example, ‘my supervisor is an idiot’. Try asking your self these questions to help you get more specific and objective:

  • What is the situation? e.g. ‘I have too much work to do’
  • How would I like the situation to be? e.g. ‘I would like to be given less work’.
  • Whats in the way? e.g ‘I don’t know how to approach my supervisor about this as he often gets angry!’

So keeping to the facts the problem is; ‘I have too much work and I would like less, but I am unsure about how to talk about this with my supervisor.”

Step 2

Step 2: Think up all possible solutions

Now you need to be really creative here and the big rule is avoid judging or dismissing them just yet. The more ideas you come up with the better; they can be silly, strange and extreme. Some suggestions:

  • quit my job
  • ask my boss to join me for a beer
  • write an email rather than speak to him
  • approach coworkers who might be feeling the same way and do it together
  • whinge to my mates
  • go see an EAP counsellor
  • go to a higher level
  • learn skills to better equip me to manage my workload
  • ask for training
  • delegate
  • put up with it
  • do it really badly and hope I get fired or assigned a different job
Step 3

Step 3: Choose a solution

It is now time to weigh up the pros and cons of each idea you have come up with and choose the best solution. There may not be a ‘perfect’ one because lets face it, if there was you probably would have tried it already!

Step 4

Step 4: Try out your solution

Give it a go and allow some time to see if its working.

Step 5

Step 5: Check in and see if your problem is resolved

So has your work load reduced and are you feeling less stressed? Not quite there yet? Repeat steps 1 to 5


To learn more, visit This FIFO Life

Julie Loveny and Sue Crock

Julie and Sue are both from This FIFO Life. To learn more you can visit www.thisfifolife.com

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