Problems come to us with varying amounts of important and useless information.Focusing on useless information distracts us and wastes time.
So, if you want to calculate when two airplanes will collide, draw their paths and speeds.
If you plan to assault a house where a terrorist holds hostages, draw a picture of the room, doors, windows, hostages, etc.
If you want to learn how to calculate the volume of a sphere, use a specific radius, such as one metre, and apply the formula.
If you want to determine why frogs are dying right and left in your community, examine dead frogs.
So identify the key elements of the problem before you start looking for a solution.
If the problem is that of a couple who come to you for counselling because they argue continually, ask them what they argue about, when, and where.If the problem is that your bike squeaks when you ride it, determine what part squeaks.Sometimes we can see the problem and all its important details right in front of us. Other times we can't see important elements because they have already occurred or are not visible.For instance, if you are calculating probabilities of some event happening, you can simulate the situation and observe outcomes yourself.If you want to help someone become more socially successful, you can act as that person does and observe the consequences.Understanding complex or vague problems can be difficult.Simulating or acting out some key element of the problem can be productive.The strategies on this list are in themselves not original.The original aspects of this list are: It is easier to solve a specific problem than a vague one.If your problem is that your mother can't get the new software to work, determine what doesn't happen that she wants to happen.If your problem is a math homework question, read carefully the question (usually at the end): Is the answer supposed to be in metres or centimetres, rounded or not, square or not, etc.