Sunday, January 10, 2010

Get 'er done! (or not)

Saphron, a fellow blogger, recently solved a few household maintenance problems. Her problems weren't huge, but they were still intimidating.

Life is full of problems. Have you noticed?

It's not always the size of the problem that halts us. Often it's just not knowing where to start.

I've been studying Creative Problem Solving for three decades. (I'm not old... I've just been young for a long time.)

Teaching at an elementary school for the last two years, I've learned to distill my 30 years of experience down to a simple six step process for Creative Problem Solving. I call the process: Get 'er done.

"Get 'er done" is a catch-phrase made popular by Larry the Cable Guy. So much of the time we just complain about our problems instead of fixing them. Larry tells us what we need to do: Get 'er done!

But how?

Here are some simple steps that even fourth grade students learn to use... even when I'm not around:

1) What kind of a problem is it? (Read the directions if available.)
2) Do I have a strategy? (Create a plan. Look in your bag of tricks.)
3) What's my first step? (Get going. A rudder only works when the ship is moving.)
4) What's my next step? (Once you start, things become clear: one step at a time. Pretty soon, you've solved the problem.)
5) Check your answer! (Did my solution work? Find a way to check your answer.)
6) Happy Dance! (The performing arts taught me this. Celebrate the victory!)

This process works for math, household projects, relationships, child-training, etc.

Saphron learned to use a screwdriver! Lately I've been learning to use trust.

Problems got you stymied? Maybe you just need to "Get 'er done!"

This summer I re-learned how to wax my cars. I hadn't done it for 15 years or so. They've made it a lot easier. So today, before I settle in for some serious football-on-the-TV time, I'm going to wash and wax a car. I know what kind of a problem it is... I have a strategy... It's time to move on... to Step One. (See before and after pics...)

Have a great week!