Some excellent problem solving tactics are enumerated by John Maxwell:

Do you know the number-one mistake most people make when encountering a problem?  They don’t solve the problem before the problem.  The problem you must solve before your problem is one of attitude. Whenever you encounter a challenging situation, you have a choice: What attitude will you have about it?

1. Your Problem Is Not Your Problem — A negative attitude toward a problem only makes it worse. That’s because negative thinking is an amplifier. It can “make a mountain out of a molehill.” And when small problems get amplified, we can tend to become overwhelmed or even paralyzed. We don’t know what to do, where to turn, whom to call on. This can create a downward spiral, in which our attitudes and our problems both get worse and worse.  The only way to break that cycle is to choose a positive attitude at the onset of the problem.

2. Positive Attitude Tempers Your Emotional Response — Casting a problem in a positive light at its outset can weaken a negative emotional response. By not seeing a problem as a disaster, you are more likely to stay calm. Instead of watching your fears run away with you, you can master your fears. The ability to keep a calm head in the face of a problem is the first step toward a good solution.

3. Positive Attitude Fosters Creativity — How you define a problem makes a huge difference in your ability to solve it. That’s because seeing a problem as an opportunity does more than calm your emotions; it opens your eyes to options. And clarity about your options results in greater creativity. After all, when we see a problem as just another fork in the road, we can see more clearly all of the possible routes that might lead to a solution. Creativity makes you a better problem-solver, and a positive attitude increases creativity.

4. Positive Attitude Empowers You to Take Action — Think of a positive attitude as a momentum-builder. Positivity about the problem combats paralysis and gets you moving past fear. Creatively exploring options keeps you energized and making progress. And with all of that forward momentum, the only thing left is to begin trying out solutions. By removing obstacles like fear or tunnel vision, a positive attitude clears the way for you to make decisions and act to solve the problem.