5 Lessons From a Jigsaw Puzzle

5 Lessons From a Jigsaw Puzzle

 

I know – sounds crazy, right? What can a jigsaw puzzle teach anybody? But it did, so stay with me and I'll share everything.

I love puzzles, but haven't put one together in quite a while. That's because I know myself, and I know that once I open the box and start spreading out the pieces, I won't do anything else – no working on my business, no housecleaning, no cooking, nothing! So, I've been avoiding the cabinet that houses at least five or six unopened puzzles. (I love Charles Wysocki Americana-style puzzles!)

But, one recent, rainy Sunday afternoon, I just couldn't resist any longer. I opened a 1000-piece puzzle. And then it began to unfold its magic for me.

Lesson #1: Puzzles are therapeutic.

As soon as I opened the box, I started to feel more relaxed. I forgot about everything else that had been on my mind. I just focused on the puzzle and all stress and worries melted away.

Lesson #2: Devising and implementing a system solves many problems.

Spreading out 1000 puzzle pieces is a daunting task. So, I had previously made puzzle boards. You can buy some on Amazon, but I cut large cardboard boxes into manageable sizes (less than 2′ x 3′) and hot-glued felt to them. Voila! I now had room to spread out the puzzle pieces so they would not slip off the surface, and they could be stacked as well for ease in accessing.

The next part of my system was to sort individual pieces by placing them on the puzzle board evenly in rows, while separating the edge pieces. This immediately felt so satisfying, like there was truly order in my life!

Next step was to complete the border of the puzzle, followed by starting on small sections for which the colors were clearly defined and could be easily seen and selected from the puzzle boards. As I began to look for puzzle pieces that fit, I referred often to the picture of the puzzle, always orienting it the same way as the puzzle frame. (I work on all sides of the puzzle, so I can see things from a different, and closer angle.)

Lesson #3: When you are faced with a problem that seemingly has no applicable solution, leave it alone for a while and come back to it later with a fresh view of the situation.

For instance, many times I was sure that a certain puzzle piece would be so easy to find, either by it's distinctive color or shape. But having scanned those puzzle boards several times, it still didn't show up. So – I just moved on to another section of the puzzle and later that specific puzzle piece happened to be right there in front of me! Perhaps, one could call me a procrastinator sometimes, but I prefer to say that I'm “waiting for a vision”!

Lesson #4: When you've exhausted all options to solve a problem, regroup.

After about one-third of the way to puzzle completion, I noticed puzzle pieces were getting harder to find. So, I took a few minutes to re-organize each puzzle board. I put like puzzle pieces together – such as dark green leafy pieces, white sand ones, buildings and animals. Then I could focus on the specific attribute of the puzzle piece for which I was looking. Worked like a charm! I started seeing the pieces easily. Then, I started consolidating the pieces onto fewer boards to make the search easier.

Lesson #5: Finishing a project is a joy in and of itself!

One (among many) of my shortfalls is excitedly starting many things, only to fizzle out before they are finished. But putting that last piece into the puzzle “sparks joy”, as Marie Kondo would say!

So – the final lesson to my puzzle story is this: when you find yourself stressed out and unable to see the next steps you need to take, stop and complete a jigsaw puzzle. It will make everything clearer!

What the Heck is Kon-Mari?

What the Heck is Kon-Mari?

Does the term “spark joy” mean anything to you? It does if you know about Marie Kondo, the tidying queen. Marie has published two wildly popular books, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo and Spark Joy. She also has a Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. Of course, I’ve read the books and watched the Netflix series in a couple of sittings!

 

WHAT IS TIDYING?

Tidying is the task of transforming your home into a sanctuary of natural energy that meshes totally with your own natural energy. It should be a celebration, a special event that allows you to confront yourself and discover the balance needed to live your life in contentment and peace surrounded by the things that bring you joy.

 

That is tidying according to Marie. Sounds like a lot to expect of a little cleaning up! But, I do want some natural energy in my home. My biggest concern at this point is how much energy am I going to have to expend to acquire that natural energy of which Marie speaks. I think it’s worth a shot, but I expect to be exhausted before the joy sets in.

 

WHAT IS THE GOAL OF TIDYING?

The goal of tidying is the realization of joy in your life. To experience that joy, you need to visualize the lifestyle you want as a result of a clutter-free space. Then, through the Kon-Mari method of tidying, you can achieve that goal that allows you to become the person you want to be. Tidying is a one-time event that, once completed, frees you to be the person you want to be.

 

Wow! That’s one big promise. Since I’ve never really discovered joy in cleaning up, I’m a little skeptical about such a huge transformation in my life just by “tidying”.

 

WHAT ARE THE MAJOR CONCEPTS BEHIND THE TIDYING PROCESS?

The Kon-Mari method begins with discarding, followed by organizing the space. The emphasis is not on the discarded items, but on identifying items you want to keep – those that spark joy in your life. Each possession must be handled one by one to identify whether the item sparks joy for you. This happens in a marathon event of tidying that culminates in finding a home for each item kept.

 

Discard – not organize. Sounds like I’m going to make a bigger mess than I started with. And then, within that mess, I’m going to find joy. I do have some things in my home that “spark joy”, but I’m not sure if I’ll find it in my clothes, which is the first category to address in the process.

 

WHAT ARE THE OUTCOMES OF TIDYING?

Finally, Marie promises a life transformation with feelings of serenity, purpose and joy. Your home should now embrace you with order and calm.

 

That’s a lot to ask from what everyone else calls “decluttering”. However, I do dream about all my possessions having a place to put them – “a place for everything and everything in its place: So, I must admit, I’m curious. And for the sake of “science”, I’m going to implement the Kon-Mari method in my home, and you’re going to be the judge of the results. See you next time!

Does the term “spark joy” mean anything to you? It does if you know about Marie Kondo, the tidying queen. Marie has published two wildly popular books, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo and Spark Joy. She also has a Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. Of course, I’ve read the books and watched the Netflix series in a couple of sittings!

 

WHAT IS TIDYING?

Tidying is the task of transforming your home into a sanctuary of natural energy that meshes totally with your own natural energy. It should be a celebration, a special event that allows you to confront yourself and discover the balance needed to live your life in contentment and peace surrounded by the things that bring you joy.

 

That is tidying according to Marie. Sounds like a lot to expect of a little cleaning up! But, I do want some natural energy in my home. My biggest concern at this point is how much energy am I going to have to expend to acquire that natural energy of which Marie speaks. I think it’s worth a shot, but I expect to be exhausted before the joy sets in.

 

WHAT IS THE GOAL OF TIDYING?

The goal of tidying is the realization of joy in your life. To experience that joy, you need to visualize the lifestyle you want as a result of a clutter-free space. Then, through the Kon-Mari method of tidying, you can achieve that goal that allows you to become the person you want to be. Tidying is a one-time event that, once completed, frees you to be the person you want to be.

 

Wow! That’s one big promise. Since I’ve never really discovered joy in cleaning up, I’m a little skeptical about such a huge transformation in my life just by “tidying”.

 

WHAT ARE THE MAJOR CONCEPTS BEHIND THE TIDYING PROCESS?

The Kon-Mari method begins with discarding, followed by organizing the space. The emphasis is not on the discarded items, but on identifying items you want to keep – those that spark joy in your life. Each possession must be handled one by one to identify whether the item sparks joy for you. This happens in a marathon event of tidying that culminates in finding a home for each item kept.

 

Discard – not organize. Sounds like I’m going to make a bigger mess than I started with. And then, within that mess, I’m going to find joy. I do have some things in my home that “spark joy”, but I’m not sure if I’ll find it in my clothes, which is the first category to address in the process.

 

WHAT ARE THE OUTCOMES OF TIDYING?

Finally, Marie promises a life transformation with feelings of serenity, purpose and joy. Your home should now embrace you with order and calm.

 

That’s a lot to ask from what everyone else calls “decluttering”. However, I do dream about all my possessions having a place to put them – “a place for everything and everything in its place: So, I must admit, I’m curious. And for the sake of “science”, I’m going to implement the Kon-Mari method in my home, and you’re going to be the judge of the results. See you next time!