How to do a Jigsaw Puzzle

Both my kids are good at Jigsaws. And maybe that’s because I like a good jigsaw myself. I’ve always taught them that it’s about the patterns, shapes, textures and colours. I haven’t taught them that they have to do the outside edges first.

There is “no rule” that the outside edges have to be completed first. It’s just the way that everyone seems to approach a jigsaw. And for complex, 1000+ piece jigsaws it makes sense.

However, for a 3yo doing a 75 piece jigsaw it’s not the most sensible approach. Sometimes doing the edges are the hardest bit.

Now that my 5yo is at school and attending an after-school club she’s started to do jigsaws with other adults. She now officially declares as we start each jigsaw “We need to do the edges first, mum”.

I know that it’s not me who’s taught her that. And it makes me sad – despite my early interventions she’s been taught a belief about how to tackle a puzzle that may not always be appropriate.

The reason I tell this story is that sometimes I see this at work.

“This is the way we’ve always done this”.

Maybe so.  But that doesn’t mean that it’s always the most appropriate way to do it.

It’s hard to challenge our beliefs, or the tried & tested ways of doing things.  But when the environment changes and we’re facing new challenges it’s important to stop & think about whether the customary approach is actually the best way.   Naturally, we need to ensure that we’re keeping within legal boundaries.  However, the beauty of legislation is that there’s usually enough wriggle room to allow for flexibility in our interpretation.

So on this rainy Sunday afternoon I leave you with this thought about how to do a jigsaw puzzle to take you into the week ahead.


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