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Posts Categorized: Problem Solving

What is the Problem? Yours – Mine – Ours

What is the Problem? Yours – Mine – Ours | Focuswithmarlene.com

When you learn the basics of problem-solving it will be a skill that you use automatically.

In last week’s post, I outlined five basic components of problem solving; questions you need to ask to find the solution you want. Today you will set the criteria to resolve your problem and learn how to identify exactly what the main problem is.

Identify the problem – define the conflict

Whether the question is how to advance beyond basic survival, how to prepare for your financial future, or how to better communicate with your spouse, it is crucial that the problem be correctly defined.

Unless the problem is correctly defined, you will be trying to rid yourself of emotional distress rather than resolving the actual problem.

Questions I Need to Ask to Find the Solutions I Want

Questions I Need to Ask to Find the Solutions I Want | focuswithmarlene.com

We experience problems every day that require some kind of action. Most are insignificant, or require little thought, such as, What will I wear today?  Do I want to take the weekend off and get away? We make a decision and move on.

But other problems are more complex with more serious outcomes, such as, How can I make enough money to support my family or care for an aging parent? How do I survive this pandemic?

One problem often has a multitude of other problems attached, each requiring thought and consideration. An aging spouse with health issues may require additional care.

Replacing Habits That Keep You from Being Successful

Replacing Habits That Keep You from Being Successful

“Successful people are simply those with successful habits.”
—Brian Tracy

To be successful, you need to be in charge of both your time and habits. Chores need to be done but we also need fun and relaxation.

In my recent post, Are Your Habits Sabotaging Your Efforts? you kept a record of how you spent your time each day for a week.

Last week, in Take Charge of Your Time – Take Charge of Your Life, you re-examined the log you kept, and formulated a workable structure for how you spent your time each day.

This week’s post will help you understand how habits are created and reinforced.

Take Charge of Your Time – Take Charge of Your Life

Take Charge of Your Time – Take Charge of Your Life

What is your daily time routine? Habits and time management go hand-in-hand. If you want to maximize your time, you need to put habits in place that will help you follow those guidelines.

Next week you will learn what keeps habits in place. But first, let’s set up a time management program that works for you.

Time management is more than making to-do lists.

We all make lists of things to be done and then either abandon them or become stressed in the process of trying to get everything done. And we tend to do the things we like doing first and then put the rest on hold until we feel like it.

Where Do We Begin?

Where Do We Begin? | FocusWithMarlene.com

You have grieved, accepted, let go and are now ready to put your energy into making plans for the future.

Before making any major long-term goals, some preliminary questions can help you avoid a lot of wasted time and energy. Some of those questions include identifying your strengths and weaknesses.

Have you given thoughtful consideration to what you would like to do in the future and what obstacles or barriers you may encounter?

Starting over is never easy.

When we started out in life, it seemed there was a more defined path to follow: going to college, establishing a career, getting married, starting a family, etc. Somehow it was easier to coordinate all the pieces and move in the direction we wanted to go.

Use It or Lose It: 10 Tools to Help You Communicate Effectively

Use It or Lose It: 10 Tools to Help You Communicate Effectively | FocusWithMarlene.com

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

-Nelson Mandela

We live in an age when information is available 24/7. Just install the right app and push the right button and you have anything and everything you want.

But do we?

We sign up for interesting and exciting courses online thinking when we have completed them, we will be able to bake a cake, take apart a car engine or know the best ways to travel. While all of this is wonderful and exciting, there is one step missing. Application.

Throughout this year, my blog posts have offered information, tools and strategies to meet the everyday challenges of life. But that information is just that – information – until it is used. Until we personally apply the information that can help us, it will simply remain good ideas.

Character Matters

Character Matters | FocusWithMarlene.com

Life is a question and how we live it is our answer.

-Gary Keller

What is character and why does it matter?

As we go through life, we are putting in place those qualities that identify and define who we are. It is a combination of things such as generosity, loyalty, devotion, etc., but even more important, our moral and ethical standards and principles.

  • Am I honest? Can you trust my word?
  • Do I live my beliefs and values?
  • Do others know I have integrity and will stand up for what is right, even at a personal cost?

My principles, values, morals and ethics not only define who I am but help me make sound decisions that maximize my talents in positive and constructive ways.

Conflict – “He Said – She Said”

Conflict – “He Said – She Said” | FocusWithMarlene.com

“That’s not what I said.”

“Yes, it is, I heard you.”

“You always try to pin the blame on me. If you were here instead of out golfing, this wouldn’t have happened.”

“Oh, and how about you – out shopping again….”

And round and round and round it goes, ending with two angry people who continue to find ways to attack, defend and destroy each other.

Many of the problems we face are interpersonal conflicts of some kind. They are usually laced with anger and blame and persistence that I am right, and you are wrong.

How do we get into these conflicts in the first place? And how do we get out of them?

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions (Problem Solving)

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions (Problem Solving) | FocusWithMarlene.com

“You think you’ve got problems – you should hear what happened to me last week…”

…And on and on it goes – we cannot wait to get together and share our stories of what new disaster we faced.

Life is ongoing problem solving.

And as much as we hate to have yet another unexpected intrusion in our well-laid plans, life would be pretty dull without them.

Problems of any kind demand some kind of resolution. Most decisions we make are so insignificant we rarely think about them, such as, what will I wear to work today? or, what shall I plan for dinner?

But others are more complicated and demand more thoughtful consideration. While symptoms keep us edgy and anxious, it may take a while to actually identify the problem that is creating those symptoms.

Self-Correcting When Life Takes You Off Course

Self-Correcting When Life Takes You Off Course | FocusWithMarlene.com

My husband and I loved to sail. We moved to Washington so we would have more opportunity to cruise the beautiful San Juan Islands.

If you plan on doing serious sailing or cruising, you need to learn the “rules of the road,” must be able to read charts and navigate the waters to avoid hidden reefs and shipping lanes. What is the significance of the different sizes and shapes of buoys? How do we chart a course from here to there while taking advantage of prevailing winds, tides and currents? Without these basics it is easy to get into trouble.

Sailing requires adjusting your sails to the weather and water conditions. The wind is the energy source that propels you through the water and as the wind shifts, your sails need adjusting to maximize power.