The most effective, most creative problem solvers engage in a process of meta-thinking, or thinking about the thinking.
A great snippet from a good book, 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School, by Matthew Frederick. More on this thought:
Meta-thinking means that you are aware of how you are thinking as you are doing the thinking. Meta-thinkers engage in the continual internal dialogue of testing, stretching, criticizing, and redirecting their thought processes.