Problem solving worksheets incorporate much more than just the “pros and cons” of a situation, though a pros and cons list can be a great starting point!
The obvious benefit of these worksheets is that you may find the solution to a dilemma but, more importantly, the questions raised can improve your problem-solving skills. Use them for personal decisions in life — big or small — or as a group activity with family or co-workers. You'll find that you get in the habit of approaching problems rationally after reducing a few problems to worksheet form!
Explore the many styles of worksheets to choose those that resemble your style or thought processes. Some are a simple list of questions to answer; some branch off into the many series of factors influencing the potential solution; and others may look like more of an art project than anything else.
Fill-in-the-bubble picture worksheets may complement the random and imaginative style of right-brained people, whereas left-brained people may gain more from straightforward lists or diagrams.
The trouble with pros and cons lists is that opinion, desires, influences, and possible outcomes aren’t always taken into consideration. People tend to force more pros into the column of their desired outcome rather than finding solutions to support it in the first place! But because worksheets consider these factors, you’re more likely to find something truly workable. Possible questions include:
Answering the many problem-solving questions can help you see more solutions and get a better feel for any changes the outcome may bring. A worksheet is more organized than a random list of questions and answers, though, which leads your thoughts toward the best solutions. And you can always revisit the worksheets to attempt a different route if you should find that yours is not working as you had hoped or planned.
Worksheets can promote teamwork and problem solving within the home or office. For example, a problem within the home may be a lack of shared housework between family members. The input of each family member can highlight the reasons for this, the barriers to achieving the desired outcome, and possible solutions to the problem. Members can then vote on possible solutions or try them one-by-one for a set period before making a final decision.
Perhaps the most important part of problem solving is that you evaluate the final outcome.
Did the solution work as you had expected?
Were there any factors you had not considered?
Repeated use and evaluation of problem solving worksheets and their outcomes is a great way to practice and polish your skills for future dilemmas.