Everyone has to solve problems at some point. There are all kinds of problems we face and they range from the small and fairly insignificant to huge conundrums that have a lot resting on them. Every day, you probably find ways to address various problems at work, at home and in other environments. Maybe you quickly need to find something for breakfast because you’re out of oatmeal. Perhaps you have to find someone to cover a shift at work. But even if you’re a regular problem-solver, you can always be a better one.

Improving your problem-solving skills can benefit you at work, but also in other situations. It could help you keep a calm head and make better decisions. You could improve your skills using a range of methods.

Seek Out Problem-Solving Situations

Why wait for a problem to come along when you could put yourself in situations that require good problem-solving? This might sound a little frightening, but it doesn’t have to be. Seeking out problems to solve can cover many different things. It could be going to a climbing center and spending time trying to figure out the best holds as you climb. It might mean offering help to someone who’s working on a problem at work. Or it could include visiting an online community to help answer people’s questions or even find things they’re looking for.

Learn to Challenge Yourself

One of the things that can affect your ability to solve problems well is the assumptions you make and whether you’re able to change your way of thinking. When you make assumptions, you can get stuck on one line of thought. That often makes solving problems difficult because you can’t picture the different options that may be available to you. Learning to question your first thought can help to open up subsequent thoughts to consider. Instead of just accepting something as fact or thinking there’s one way to do things, ask yourself if you can look at it in a different way.

Challenge Your Brain with Puzzles and Games

If you want a fun way to get better at solving problems, try doing puzzles and playing games. These often have lots of things that make you think of how to solve a problem. If you’re doing a word search, you have to consider the different possibilities of how the words might be hidden. With a jigsaw puzzle, you can improve your spatial problem-solving skills. Many video games are excellent for problem-solving too. You’re presented with challenges that get you to think in different ways, whether you’re playing some sort of puzzle game or something with more of a narrative.

Look at Problems from Different Angles

To be a good problem-solver, you need to be capable of examining a problem from different angles. When you’re faced with a problem, try to consider exactly what you need to know and think about to find a solution. Firstly, you need to know exactly what the problem is and find the cause or what might be in the way of finding a solution. You should also think about the consequences of this problem and the things that could happen if you solved it or maybe didn’t solve it. What possible options could you have for solutions and what might their outcomes be?

Solve Low-Risk Problems

Problem-solving can be kind of scary, especially when there’s a lot at stake. If you have a big responsibility, you can even feel paralyzed with the fear that you might make the right choice. To be a better problem-solver, consider finding ways to solve low-risk problems. Practice your problem-solving skills on problems that don’t really matter that much. The world won’t end if you substitute an ingredient you don’t have with something that turns out not to really work in the dish. It can help you build your confidence and learn how to solve problems in ways you can use later.

Develop a Process for Solving Problems

Creating your own process for solving problems can simplify any problem that you have to face. With a step-by-step process, you can make sure you’ve covered all of the important points when you’re trying to find the right solution. So you might start by identifying the problem and its causes before you brainstorm some potential solutions. Then you can examine each solution to determine their pros and cons before you select one and implement it.

Problem-solving can come naturally to you in some ways, but there are always opportunities to improve your skills.