Scenario 3: You have

two jobs—one during the week from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, and one on Saturday from

3:00 pm to 11:00 pm. You are taking two classes—one that meets from 6:00 to

10:00 pm, and one class online. You have two kids—one who plays soccer, and one

who is in a band. You have two elderly parents who no longer drive. You have

two siblings—one who lives two (2) miles away, and one who lives in another

state. You have two (2) papers due in your classes the same week that one (1)

of your children has a soccer tournament, and the other child has a band

concert. You are coaching the soccer team, and you are in charge of fundraising

for the band. You have a goal to complete your degree in two (2) years. Your

doctor tells you that your blood pressure, your cholesterol, and your weight

are too high and recommends several medications that cost you nearly $200 per

month after your insurance co-pay.

Introduction

When faced with a

problem, I use any of many problem-solving strategies to guide my

problem-solving process. Problem-solving is a relatively complicated process.

For this reason, the problem-solving process is usually divided into a sequence

of steps that when followed allow one to move from a problem definition to a

clear and specific solution to the problem. In this paper, I illustrate the

usage of one such method by examining a sample scenario and attempting to

identify and solve the problem therein using the technique. For this paper, I

use Einstein’s method of problems solving.

Analyzing the Problem

Einstein’s method of

problem-solving is unlike most methods of problem-solving in that it focuses on

trying to understand the problem and spends very little time on the

problem-solving part of the process. According to Einstein, with one hour to

solve a problem, a person should spend the first 55 minutes trying to

understand the problem and then spend the last five minutes implementing a

solution. Following his line of reasoning, the problem-solving process becomes

divided into two broad stages – defining the problem and solving your problem.

Since more focus is laid on the first stage, several methods are available for

trying to analyze the problem.

The article in

litemind.com provides a variety of tools and strategies for analyzing the

problem. For my purposes, I use the two strategies of chunking up and chunking

down. Chunking up involves getting a general view of the problem. It entails

asking general questions such as “What do I intend to do?” For my

chosen scenario, the general problem is relatively easy to understand. I need

to organize myself so that I can accomplish most – if not all – of the tasks in

my schedule. I have many things to do and too little time to do them. Once I’ve

established this, I chunk down, that is, I try to identify what specific

problems constitute this larger more general problem. The particular problems I

identified were that I had two jobs, one which I went to every weekday from 9

am to 6 pm and another which I worked on Saturdays from 3 pm to 11 pm.

Additionally, I had classes every day from 6 pm to 10 pm and another one I did

online. These were the tasks with which I could not compromise especially in

regards to the time in which I did them. However, I also had to manage a

fundraiser for my son’s band and coach for my daughter’s soccer team. My

daughter has an upcoming soccer tournament, and my son has an upcoming band

concert. I also have two assignments to deliver the same week as the two

events. I need to consider my parents’ transportation as well as my

deteriorating health. Gathering additional data would be useful in the next

stage. Useful data would include, the constraints and opportunities I have at

my disposal

Solving the Problem

The method

illustrated in litemind.com does not focus very much on the problem-solving

aspect of the process. However, the last strategy mentioned states that after

successfully analyzing the problem any of the nine problem definition

strategies, we could then proceed to problem-solving. This stage would involve

identifying and implementing the most suitable solution using the information

that is now available. Since my goal is to do the most with the little time and

help I have, I would have to assign each task a particular time slot.

Additionally enlisting help would help lessen the burden on me and my health.

One solution would be to study my online coursework, do my assignments and

engage in some exercise in the period between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. Then, when

going to work, I could pick up my parents and drop them off wherever they need

to be. I could then ask my husband or my closest sibling to pick them up later

in the day since I would be occupied till 10 o’clock. Afterwards, on the

weekends, I could coach my daughter’s football team and do the fundraising for

my son’s band concert. Any time left would be spent relaxing.

Alternatives

When attempting to

understand the problem, I could choose to rephrase my problem question. For

instance, instead of trying to find out how to do the most with the little time

I have, I could choose instead to ask how best to ask what areas should I prioritize

and what should I consider dropping entirely or at the very least delegating?

Reframing the question like this would result in a different set of solutions

altogether. One solution would include prioritizing family finances, family

time and my health respectively. Following this line of thought, the most

important tasks would be my paid jobs, spending time at home and supporting my

children’s hobbies. This method, however, involves letting go of my plans to

get a degree in the next two years.

Discussion of Methods Usefulness

The method

illustrated above would be suitable for many situations. It would be especially

useful in cases where the problem in question is open-ended and very vague.

Interestingly, most real-world problems fall into this category. Most problems

we encounter in the real world have a variety of tenable solutions. Depending

on how one looks at the problem, it is possible to arrive at a different

conclusion regarding how to go about solving it. This method is therefore

applicable since a great deal of effort and time is spent attempting to

understand the problem with a little time being given to the actual execution

of the solution.

Conclusion

There are several

ways to go about solving a problem. Most of these methods involve going through

a series of steps, from identifying the problem right through to finally

solving the problem. In trying to solve the problem in my chosen problem

scenario, I used Einstein’s method of problem-solving. This technique involves

focusing on understanding the problem and evaluating solutions and spending

only a little at the execution stage of problem-solving. Using this method, I

successfully analyzed and solved the problem presented in the problem scenario.

I found that the method could be used for a variety of other situations one is

likely to encounter in the real world.

References

Einstein’s Secret to

Amazing Problem Solving (and 10 Specific Ways You Can Use It). (n.d.).

Retrieved November 10, 2017, from Litemind:

https://litemind.com/problem-definition/

Interpersonal

Conflict and Effective Communication. (n.d.). Retrieved November 9, 2017, from

DRB Alternatives: http://www.drbalternatives.com/articles/cc2.html

Mullen, T. (n.d.).

Trident University Writing Guide. Retrieved June 20, 2016, from Trident University:

https://mytlc.trident.edu/index.php

The Problem Solving

Process. (n.d.). Retrieved November 20, 2017, from The Global Development

Research Center: http://www.gdrc.org/decision/problem-solve.html