Can we solve our own problems?

It might sound funny, however not many of us train ourselves to solve our own personal problems / health problems in the most effective and efficient manner.

Most of us are used to solving problems / issues on the work front in the most efficient manner, and fail to recognize the leading indicators of problems/challenges in our personal lives. Be it relationship issues, health issues, financial issues, real-estate issues, family issues, trust issues… the list goes on. When we look back, we will see so many leading indicators that would have given us a clue to look into the issues and figure out a way to deal with it. However, every single time, we would have prioritized our work or some other activity as a higher priority and pushed something down the priority list. And lo and behold, one fine day (and especially during the COVID times), that issue sparks up and needs the maximum attention..! How did the universe figure out that tiny issue that we had shoved down the drain and figured out how it can impact us in the most impactful manner and make us change? While chatting with friends we realized that every family is going through something unique to them during these times.

Now, how can we get to solving our own problems? Everyone cannot be a lawyer, doctor, psychologist etc etc, to solve their own problems. However, these tips have helped me stay afloat on many fronts over the years.

  1. Define your problem statement – why did it occur, what went wrong, what is the event of recurrence, can it be fixed, how to fix it
  2. Look for experts to seek help – Sometimes google is good enough, sometimes talking to friends/peers helps, sometimes experts in the specific fields help. Identify what is needed and look to prioritize seeking help
  3. Form an informed perspective – How do we handle the situation from now through the end of fixing the problem, do we have more known factors, or are we dealing with a lot of unknowns.
  4. Prioritize – While at any point of time in life we might be dealing with many issues, figuring out the biggest and most critical one that MUST get all the attention and the secondary ones that cannot be left behind, and the ones that can be dropped is critical. It is the hardest part and needs re-prioritizing your life, however, based on the criticality of what we are dealing with – it is do-able. We automatically gain the strength to de-prioritize many aspects that we felt critical earlier based on the importance of what we are dealing with.
  5. Setup a support system – if our issues are small, we get to take a few hours of our routine and get it addressed, however, some problems take dedicated time and effort and we need a support system to help us through the same. Be it picking up kids from the daycare, getting groceries, making meals, or completing an office presentation while we get to take a few hours to get our priorities addressed. Whether the support system is a need-based one, short term or long term solution depends on the extent of multi-tasking and our individual needs.
  6. Get into the habit of figuring out leading indicators – this is crucial to not get ourselves always back up from the bottom of the stack. Health wise, financial literacy wise, and for all areas of life, we have events, reminders, tasks, appointments, schedules that drive our personal life and personal choices that are in place. Setup your reminders and stick to them. Take time at least once a month, to review what these leading indicators are trying to project and take course correction as and when needed. A stitch in time surely saves nine. Call that plumber when you find the leak, if a team member is not delivering, have a 1-1 at the earliest, if you have a disagreement on the approach with your manager, speak up and sort it out as soon as possible.

While chatting with a friend, she said – “I am going through financial issues, children’s health issues, real-estate issues, relationship issues, mold issues, COVID issues, kids education issues, office politics & job search issues… what would you prioritize?” I told her – focus on what is in your scope of control today, this week, next week and deal with those, while establishing a support system to help you with some of the others before those lead into bigger challenges.

Opening up the question to those who are reading it… what would YOU prioritize?

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