How to improve your problem solving skills

This Young Professional Challenge focuses on what you can do to improve your problem skills. This article will look at how some of the extracurricular things you can do can boost your thought process.

You can find guidance on how to deal with problems, how to talk about them in interview and more on your dashboard (you’ll need to be logged in to see it though!).

Working on your problem solving skills is always a win because not only do employers like to test that you’ve got the know-how but problems crop up in school, at home and in most aspects of work and play.

Let’s look at 5 things you can do to improve your problem solving skills:

  1. Get moving! Studies show that dancing, playing football and even listening to music can help you with problem solving. You can read more about the science bits behind this here,  in short it’s to do with how these activities get you using your brain. When we play sports like football we are asking our brain to assess all of the activities taking place and we have to think about how we need to respond as an individual and as a team.  Fun fact: did you know that if you are looking at convergent thinking (that is looking at one answer to a problem to you and me) dances like ballet can help. If you are looking at more divergent thinking (finding more than one answer to a problem) hip hop or tap dancing can help!
  2. Play games! Sudoku, crosswords, logic and brain training games help you develop your problem solving skills. We won’t be promoting any in particular (and there are plenty of free options out there), these games get you thinking and your brain ready to start thinking differently when an obstacle is out in front of you! If you are getting bored of one type of game you can always try another or think about coming up with your own.
  3. Practise visualising problems: Ok so this one doesn’t quite have the same fun factor as some of the others but when you are faced with problems get in the habit of using mind maps if you start putting this in to practice for the smaller problems it will become so much easier to start visualising bigger problems and mapping out your solutions.
  4. Play detective! Read up on problem solving skills, seek out cryptic challenge tasks and read detective books, or play detective computer games
  5. Be inquisitive and learn about new things. Start questioning the reasons behind things, when a problem or a topic you know little about comes up make it your mission to find out more. You would be surprised how different subjects and ideas relate to problems in life and at home. Managers look for inspiration and learning from sports teams, science, music and art. Fashion designers look to history, nature and new technology to influence the way they work too. Keeping an open mind and exploring new subjects is one way to prepare yourself no matter what comes your way.

Your Challenge:

This challenge is going to come in the form of you making a commitment, we’d like you to pick on of the above to work on and practise and start thinking about how it is improving your employability skills.

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