Four Ways to Solve Problems Like Sherlock HolmesJanuary, 22 2013
The image of Sherlock Holmes, the pipe wielding detective with an eye for detail, is burned into the minds of many people. “He’s brilliant and perceptive: The consummate problem-solver,” says Jennifer Miller, contributor to Fast Company.
He knows how to solve problems, which is one of the many requirements of a strong leader.
Holmes can teach us a few lessons to help us be successful in our work. Miller provides a guide based on the book Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes by Maria Konnikova, for greater self-awareness, a stronger memory, better focus, and enhanced creativity.
“Mindfulness means focusing on only one problem or activity at a time,” says Konnikova.
Our brains can only focus on one thing at a time so when we switch quickly from one task to the next, it’s impossible to stay focused on any single item. When you focus on one task at a time, it will help you notice and/or remember details in your work, things you read, and conversations you have.
Organize Your Brain to Remember More
Miller says, “Knowing what information to store depends on your individual goals.”
Konnikova says we often focus on our day-to-day rather than our long-term goals. If we don’t step back and put focus on those, we won’t know what to remember. We tend to connect things we remember to a sensory experience or previous action. This is why a hand written note or to-do list is effective. Miller suggests we be more mindful of what we see, smell, and hear that way we can organize and store the information.
Take a Break to Enhance Creativity
Holmes worked hard. “Taking mental holidays can be incredibly productive for creativity and we need work environments which encourage that,” says Konnikova.
We’ve talked before how it’s important to take “me” time. Take a walk on your lunch break or just step away from your desk and talk to a colleague.
Konnnikova has two reasons why it’s important to take a break:
- More hours at your desk can actually make you less productive.
- Studies have shown a link between exposure to nature and increased creativity.
Become an Expert
Holmes knew what facts were relevant and where to go to get them. He consulted some reference works and was able to get all the necessary facts. As a leader you need to get acquainted with all fields of knowledge that influence your profession.
The best way leaders resolve conflicts is with communication. When an individual can use their skills to resolve conflicts and maintain the cohesiveness of their team, that person has earned the right to lead.
How do you solve problems?