A problem-solving process is a chronological chain of events that are used to establish a problem and its potential solution. The problem-solving process ensures that the problem can be solved entirely and more holistically (Harlim, 2012). When solving problems, it is vital to have a holistic perspective and evaluate the multiple solution options which ensure that one can choose the most practical and effective solution (Snowdon, Schultz, & Swinburn, 2008). Besides, the problem-solving process helps to create contingency plans as well as evaluate and monitor the solution solving process. This paper seeks to expound on the application of the problem-solving process and use it to resolve a simulated real-life problem scenario.
Problem Scenario Definition
The scenario problem involves time management and scheduling, which is crucial in achieving professional, family, and financial obligations. Having to juggle between two jobs and taking care of young children and elderly parents is a challenging task, given they all require prioritized timing. Besides, education is a commitment that requires one to attend classes and also to study to be able to pass the tests. As such, the primary cause of the problem in the coincidental activities which include; working from Monday to Saturday, attending classes after work, meeting assignment deadlines, supporting children, coaching a soccer team, and fundraising for the band. The activities are causing an overall toil on my health due to the recent medical diagnosis of high blood pressure, cholesterol, and unhealthy weight. Therefore, there are different perspectives to view the problems which can be categorized as health promotion, professional goals, hobby commitment, financial goals, and family goals. All the activities are I am facing are competing for my limited time, and given the health report, it is crucial to take immediate action to alleviate potential failure and adverse effect to my life sustenance in the long-term.
The problem, in this case, is complex because of the limited time and a considerable number of activities which are competing for a minimal time. As a result, it is crucial to analyze the problems to be able to prioritize issues as well as the method of arriving at the problem solutions. The primary and the most pressing issue in this scenario is time management in which multiple competing activities have different implications towards my professional, family, societal, health, and financial goals.
In this case, prioritizing the issues can help identify the most pressing problems that can be given more priority and those that should be eliminated to release more time that can be used to more vital issues. The following is the analysis of the problems in order of priority:
Taking care of one's is the most crucial and pressing issue here that is related to poor time management on my part. Therefore, health is a priority issue because being healthy makes it possible to work and also to spend little in healthcare. Being diagnosed with high blood pressure, cholesterol, and being overweight should be a cause of concern because the symptoms are the risk factors for severe health conditions such as stroke, cancer, and diabetes. As such, when resolving the problem of time management, it is essential to assign activities that are beneficial to health (Huffstutter & Smith, 1989).
Having to work from Monday to Saturday every week is draining but an important activity that can be used to resolve other issues from the resulting income. Working is an essential activity because it helps one to meet basic needs. Therefore, although working can be viewed as a problem, in this case, it facilitates in solving other life problems such as housing, healthcare, education, and the ability to care for my elderly parents. Work stress without enough exercising is a significant cause of health problems such as being overweight and high blood pressure and should be considered in deliberating for the solution of the time management problem.
Family obligations, in this case, involves supporting the children and my elderly parents. Therefore, finding more time for the family especially where the children are young and in school is critical towards creating a happy family and leading a fulfilling life while at the same time being responsible as a parent.
Furthering education is vital in increasing one's workplace opportunities to earn a higher income as well as the ability to meet one's family needs. In a merit-based organization where reward and promotion are acquired through further professional development furthering one's education is essential but it is vital to schedule learning at a time when there is sufficient time for research and also when it does not negatively affect other activities.
Hobby and Social Activities
Living within a community requires one to engage in social activities such as fundraising and coaching a local soccer team. As such, they are essential activities and can be used as opportunities to give back to society.
Overall, the activities are too many and overwhelming due to the limited time frame, health implications, and professional ramifications that calls for better prioritization and time management to meet the competing objectives (Huffstutter & Smith, 1989).
- Options Generation
- Prioritization and Holistic Rescheduling
- Elimination of activities.
- Delegation of activities to free time.
- Options Evaluation
Getting the best out of a limited time frame requires proper time management and potential prioritization in which the most necessary activities are given more time. Proper time management should begin with the prioritization of activities which can be identified depending on the order of importance (Brown, 2007). This option should involve rescheduling of activities such as professional advancement should be rescheduled to time like during school holidays when the children are at home. In this case, health, work, and family should be given a priority because they are necessary and cannot be substituted. The second option is the elimination of activities that are deemed as unnecessary or expendable from one's time frame. For instance, engaging in fundraising, the weekend job, and coaching should be eliminated due to their less value amongst all the activities identified. Lastly, unnecessary activities such as taking care of elderly parents can be delegated to siblings, or hire a caretaker, whereas coaching and fundraising can be delegated to other people.
Decision: Prioritization and Holistic Rescheduling of Activities
The most practical approach of resolving the time management problem is the prioritization and holistic rescheduling, which will require the rethinking of all the activities and giving them priorities (Huffstutter & Smith, 1989). In this case, high priority decisions will be beneficial and can be maintained or given more time based on the professional and family objectives identified when the problem was analyzed. The following table provides high priority and low priority activities.
Implementation of the Decision and Reflection
Since the working time is fixed the most appropriate decision is to keep one job and resign the weekend job, and instead of engaging in coaching and fundraising activities they should be replaced by more pressing activities such as exercising, resting and helping the children with homework over the weekends. Prioritizing the family, health and learning can help to reduce the overall pressure of the said activities and increase the time that will be spent taking care of the children, exercising and resting which will be instrumental in achieving the family and health needs. Eliminating all the unnecessary activities such as coaching and fundraising will help to create free time while at the same time, the role of taking care of my elderly parents will be shared financially with my siblings. The available time over the weekend after doing away with the additional employment will be used for exercising by joining a local gym and spending the rest of the time with my daughters who need my time and help academically and emotionally. While helping my children with their academic work, I will be able to focus on my own assignments and hand them over in time. The decision to create a new holistic schedule that prioritizes the family, work, health, and learning is essential to a successful career, a happy family, and meeting my financial goals to sustain the family.
Brown, D., (2007). Problem Analysis Techniques. IRM Training - White Paper. Retrieved from https://www.miun.se/siteassets/fakulteter/nmt/summer-university/problemanalysispdf
Harlim, J., (2012). Identifying the factors that impact on the problem-solving performance of engineers. School of Electrical and Computer Engineering College of Science, Engineering and Health RMIT University. December 2012. Retrieved from https://researchbank.rmit.edu.au/eserv/rmit:160412/Harlim.pdf
Huffstutter, S., & Smith, S. C., (1989). Managing Time and Stress. ERIC. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED309518.pdf
Snowdon, W., Schultz, J., & Swinburn, B. (2008). Problem and solution trees: a practical approach for identifying potential interventions to improve population nutrition. Health promotion international, 23(4), 345-353. Retrieved from https://academic.oup.com/heapro/article/23/4/345/629180
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Uncovering the Holistic Problem-Solving Process: Evaluating Multiple Options Paper Example. (2023, Jan 16). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/uncovering-the-holistic-problem-solving-process-evaluating-multiple-options-paper-example
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