In , the American psychologist Edward Thorndike observed cats figuring out how to escape from the cage he placed them in. From this, Thorndike developed his law of effect , which is basically: if you succeed via trial-and-error, you're more likely to use those same actions and ideas that led to your previous success when you face the problem again.
Takeaway: your past experience can inform and shed light on the problem you face now. And then there were the Gestalt psychologists who built from Thorndike's ideas when they proposed that problem solving can happen via reproductive thinking , which is not about sex, but rather solving a problem by using past experience and reproducing that experience to solve the current problem. What's interesting about Gestalt psychology is how they view barriers to problem solving.
7 Steps for Effective Problem Solving
Here are two such barriers:. Are you entrenched? Look up mental set or entrenchment. This is when you're so fixated on a solution that used to work well in the past but has no bearing to your current problem. Are you so entrenched with a method or idea that you use it even when it doesn't work? As Queen Elsa sang, "Let it go! Are you thinking of alternative uses? There is a cognitive bias called functional fixedness which could thwart any of your critical thinking techniques by having you only see an object's conventional function.
For example: if you need to cut a piece of paper in half but only have a ruler, functional fixedness would lead you to think the ruler is only good for measuring things. You could also use the ruler to crease the paper, making it easier to tear it in half. Takeaway: think outside of the box! And by box, we mean outside of the past experience you're holding on to, or outside any preconceived ideas on how a tool is conventionally used.
The steps in his Productive Thinking Model are:. Ask, "What is going on? Ask, "What is success? Ask, "What is the question? Generate answers. Answer the questions from step 3.
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- 2. Help employees discover where their time is going with a time audit?
- 1. Set clear expectations and timelines!
Forge the solution. Evaluate the ideas with potential based on the criteria from step 2. Pick a solution. Align resources. Identify people and resources to execute the solution. You'll need to ask yourself questions like: Where and when is it happening? How is it occurring? With whom is it happening?
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Why is it happening? You can get to the root cause with a Fishbone Diagram also known as an Ishikawa diagram or a cause and effect diagram. Basically, you put the effect on the right side as the problem statement. Then you list all possible causes on the left, grouped into larger cause categories. The resulting shape resembles a fish skeleton. Which is a perfect way to say, "This problem smells fishy. Use Analogies to Get to a Solution Another tool you can use is analogies.
Analogical thinking uses information from one area to help with a problem in a different area. In short, solving a different problem can lead you to find a solution to the actual problem. Not to mention , Visitor Management technology is significantly more accurate than the old- fashioned log.
Guest information is collected uniformly and correctly every time. Information for every contact can be easily managed from the system. In addition, returning visitors are instantly recognized and can check in simply with just a few clicks. Waiting in line, dealing with front desk security, fumbling with a logbook, handing over ID, and waiting for approval all take precious time. Solution: Visitor registration systems automate and streamline the entire check-in process.
Hosts can easily register and add guests in a few simple steps.
When a guest arrives on site, they can check in instantly via their smartphone, and the meeting host is automatically notified via email or SMS. The system automatically prints out guest passes at the front desk for visitors , who then receive indoor wayfinding instructions to the exact meeting room , eliminating any stressful office wandering.
Gone are the days of the confused-looking guest wandering office hallways looking for the correct meeting room.
Guests have access to Wi-Fi information, meeting details , and any other relevant information for their visit. The entire process —from check in to check out—is streamlined , user- friendly , and fast.
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Step away from your desk for just a moment and you might never know a guest has arrived. In the meantime, your visitors are left waiting at the front desk until someone has the time to track you down. A Visitor Management solution automatically sends an email or text message directly to your phone the moment your visitor checks in.
Problem Solving Techniques and Tips (That Actually Work)
This way , you can greet your guest at the front desk or proceed directly to the meeting room knowing your visitor has everything they need to find the room on their own. The system automatically logs all visitor data for your reference, and guests have access to everything they need to set themselves up comfortably in your space. All communication is automatic , consolidated , and easily accessible for all. Perhaps in a tone of exhaustion, but with a detectable hint of proud self-martyrdom?
How many times have you said it yourself? We attempt to outdo, outhustle, and outperform one another. Or appear to anyways. The stress and overwhelm of all this busyness is literally contagious. How can we create more time in our lives? At this point, most of us turn to time management as a silver bullet for our stressors. We could get everything done and feel less stressed. A lot more. On the whole, people in developed countries are actually working far fewer hours than in past decades.
This even holds true in the famously work-inclined US; in the average American work week clocked in at In it was just Yet we feel busier than ever. What gives? One counterintuitive explanation: too much leisure time. In this way, creating more time is like earning more money — the more you have, the more you want to spend. But when it comes to feeling less busy, time management clearly has its limitations. Here are a few good places for recovering busy-holics to start instead:.
Busy people fill up their time, always find things to do, but they have no principle guiding their life.