The first thing when I think about a problem is to try to answer the following question : Does this problem have a solution? If the answer is negative, then itshouldn’t be a problem since a problem always have a solution. Therefore I will not worry about this "problem without solution" since every effort that I spend will be loosed. This first approach saves ahuge time for me and then I can focus my energy to the real problems.
As a first step it is nice that I list as many solution that I can imagine. Then I usually start the solution of a problem usingthe brain storming method. This method has the advantage that the ideas flows and at the end, there are always a lot of possible solution. Since it is based on creativity, I usually ask for otherpeople to help me, even if they are not involved nor specialist. This method is used successfully at companies and can be also adapted to our daily life. For example, if I have to decide about which carshould I buy, maybe I could list products from GM or even the possibility to go by bus and therefore save all my money.
The second step is to reduce the number of solutions due to problem limitation.When I have to solve a problem, there are always some restrictions like money or time. For example, I can not buy a Ferrari in order to go to the office and it would take a long time until I saveenough money to buy one. Another reason to reduce the number of solutions is because a huge number of items increases the efforts to choose a good solution. Searching information for five car is easierthan a hundred cars.
Once I have a smaller list of solution, I can classify then according to criteria. When I define a weigh for each criteria, then the solutions can be ranked as A, B and C. Forexample, if the air condition is more important than silver color, then I could set 10 points to the cars that have air condition and 1 point to silver cars. This procedure makes easier the trade off...