Problem solving is a key skill which can help you succeed. Problems or obstacles occur all the time, and it is important that you can provide quick and imaginative solutions to them. Being able to problem solve is one of the major attributes looked for by universities and employers, as it displays both logical and creative thinking.
What do Mind Maps have to do with it?
Using Mind Maps can help to bypass the usual panic instinct of the brain when confronted with a problem to solve. When faced with a problem, we automatically panic, with symptoms of 'intense fear, a racing heart, breathlessness and trembling', according to the New Scientist. Not ideal for getting into a problem solving frame of mind!
Instead of 'forcing' your mind to come up with a solution, which can result in stress, Mind Mapping opens up possibilities and calms you. When you Mind Map for problem solving, you instantly gain more clarity, so you can find answers more easily. You view the problem as a positive challenge and an opportunity to show off your creative skills!
Make two separate Mind Maps, one for the problem itself, and one for the possible solutions.
Firstly, Mind Map your problem:
Make the problem the central idea of your Mind Map.
Add as main branches all of the aspects and causes of the problem, investigating further detail with sub-branches.
Through exploring the problem in this way, you should begin to realise why the problem occurred, and what you can do to improve the situation.
Now make your second Mind Map for solutions:
Make 'Solutions' your central idea.
Add all of the routes through which you could solve the problem as main branches - include any colleagues, organisations, techniques or resources which could help - making sub-branches to explore the details of these further.
By using a Mind Map for problem solving, you will realise that one obstacle could potentially have many solutions. You should be able to see which option is most cost-effective/practical/time-saving.
Make a final branch with the most suitable solution or combination of solutions for this particular problem, then make sub-branches of the details and how you plan to implement this.