The Problem, the Solution, and Focus

Dwayne Phillips
1 min readJan 16, 2023

by Dwayne Phillips

We can focus on only one thing at a time. That is part of the definition of “focus.” There are ideas for shifting focus that work pretty well.

I can focus on one thing at a time. That is what “focus” means — one thing at a time.

Am I focusing on the problem or the solution? Jump to the solution too quickly, and I probably solve the wrong problem. Stay on the problem too long, and I go no where. Try to focus on both at once, and I just get a headache.

Put the problem on one white board. Put the solution on a different whiteboard (use computer screens or walls or tables or sheets of butcher paper or whatever). The person with the marker stands in front of one whiteboard. Discussion can only be about the topic of that whiteboard. The person can only write on that whiteboard.

The person moves to the other whiteboard. Discussion can only be about the topic of that whiteboard. The person can only write on that whiteboard.

The person moves back and forth between the two whiteboards. The focus shifts from the problem to the solution and back with the person. The discussion follows the shift in focus.

Simple? Maybe. Easy? Maybe or maybe not. Try it.

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Dwayne Phillips

Engineer, computing, consulting, writing, teaching, and a few other things in an effort to make us all better and smarter.