EDWISE  - EDITOR AND EDUCATION CONSULTANT
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Eye of the Optimist-heuristics

How to keep getting things done? It helps to develop a methodology or system for dealing with regular activities or a range of problems that are bound to come up. Everyone probably has some kind of way of addressing common tasks from shopping to dog-walking, from making soup to washing clothes, but how conscious is it? The less thought out, the less effective it likely is.

A heuristic is an approach to problem-solving. It is worth taking the time to spell out the steps to solving problems, beginning with the questions a solution needs to have answered, which is to create conscious methods. 

The added benefit is that you can pass along your most successfuly heuristics to others. Why should we struggle unnecessarily, spend more time dealing with regular tasks, and labor to start from scratch each time?

Here is a definition of a heuristic found on Wikipedia (English, of course).

heuristic technique (/hjᵿˈrɪstᵻk/Ancient Greek: εὑρίσκω, "find" or "discover"), often called simply a heuristic, is any approach to problem solving, learning, or discovery that employs a practical method not guaranteed to be optimal or perfect, but sufficient for the immediate goals. Where finding an optimal solution is impossible or impractical, heuristic methods can be used to speed up the process of finding a satisfactory solution. Heuristics can be mental shortcuts that ease the cognitive load of making a decision. Examples of this method include using a rule of thumb, an educated guess, an intuitive judgment, stereotyping, profiling, or common sense

Heuristics are strategies derived from experience with similar problems, using readily accessible, though loosely applicable, information to control problem solvingin human beings, machines, and abstract issues.

The most fundamental heuristic is trial and error, which can be used in everything from matching nuts and bolts to finding the values of variables in algebra problems.

Here are a few other commonly used heuristics, from George Pólya's 1945 book, How to Solve It:
  • If you are having difficulty understanding a problem, try drawing a picture.
  • If you can't find a solution, try assuming that you have a solution and seeing what you can derive from that ("working backward").
  • If the problem is abstract, try examining a concrete example.
  • Try solving a more general problem first (the "inventor's paradox": the more ambitious plan may have more chances of success).
In psychology, heuristics are simple, efficient rules, learned or hard-coded by evolutionary processes, that have been proposed to explain how people make decisions, come to judgments, and solve problems typically when facing complex problems or incomplete information. Researchers test if people use those rules with various methods. These rules work well under most circumstances, but in certain cases lead to systematic errors or cognitive biases ("Biases and Reasoning Heuristics"

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