The calculus was invented by Isaac Newton to make physics talking easy and lucid. More often than not, the hard nut to crack is to find a way to solve the problem, instead of just solving the problem. In order to solve a given problem, there is no definite way, there is not specific set of rules and guidelines. Everyone may approach the given problem with different way and may ultimately reach to the same solution. Some will take more time than the others. This delay/agility in finding the same solution for a problem is what distinguishes the people. Due to this very reason, some excel and some hobble.
There are different ways in which the people approach a problem. First they try to make some sense out of the chaos of information lying in and around the problem domain. They collect and sift through the information, chaff it, trim it, append to it and then iterate through the process until they get to the core of an issue. This winnowing is what makes difference. The harder one toils, better a problem solving approach one follows, the better the impetus to reach the solution.
There are few tools present out there to help people to reach to the solution. Mindmaps, outlines, VooDooPad, Devonthink, search engines, Powerpoint, sticky notes etc. Most people use combination of tools such as Mindmaps with outlines. I am fairly curious about learning what tool do you use to tackle a problem?