Ahaan !! Before I begin writing any further in to this, I would like to come out clean and be honest with you guys. I am also a new bee and not a pro Jigsaw puzzler. I strongly believe in the concept, have done good amount of reading and research on Jigsaw puzzles for adults and hence have picked up to work on this. So whatever I write is based on my reading, understanding, watching Pro puzzlers and my own experience.
Practice is the key to becoming pro for anything, and it is the same for Jigsaw puzzles as well. One needs to do it on a daily basis to really train their brain. Your brain is doing more than one thing while solving a Jigsaw puzzle. My first few Jigsaw puzzles were so slow, that a snail would beat me to it. But it was only regularity that helped me pick up some pace. So one of the first step is to sit with a Jigsaw puzzle daily.
Identify your strategy
For some isolating and joining the corners work well, for some it is random for others it is starting from one side. There are many more methods than this. How to identify your strategy ?
Step 1 – Time yourself while solving a Jigsaw puzzle
Step 2 – Solve the same Jigsaw puzzle more than once with different approaches every time.
Step 3 – Use the least time method to solve a new Jigsaw puzzle and note the time.
Step 4 – Is your time with new Jigsaw puzzle and the selected strategy better than your step 1 timing. (To remove the bias that is created while solving the same puzzle with different strategies in order to make your time chart, you can try other strategies and note down the change in time with every strategy).
Strategy Iterations with Jigsaw Puzzles
I personally like switching between strategies depending on the mood, intention and the kind of puzzle. Once you have selected a strategy, make sure you solve multiple Jigsaw puzzles with the new selected strategy.
I was recently watching the World Jigsaw puzzle competition, where 2022 winner Andrea was so quick with sorting and scanning. His timing is incredible, he finished 500 piece puzzle in under 40 minutes. He said he has no plan or strategy while solving the Jigsaw puzzle. He just goes all in. However, not all of us have the intention of participating the in the world competition and playing like Andrea. If the goal is just using Jigsaw Puzzle as a tool for reduced cognitive ageing, than competing with self on time vis-a-vis same Jigsaw puzzle/different Jigsaw puzzle is the best way.
It will be a good idea to maintain a small time log on your phone or in a notebook so as to keep a track on your improvement. Along with a little note on changing strategies and more. The time log will help you to see your improvement over a period of time. Sometimes the Jigsaw puzzle is difficult and it takes more time than anticipated, but we need to remember that becoming better at this is just a process. In conclusion, I would like to re-iterate that pace it, be consistent and enjoy the process of retraining your brain through a fun process.