Do you consider yourself observant?

In today's society, it's not uncommon to spend a chunk of time on your phone. Even when we are talking to people, out and about, and at work, we always seem connected. Although this has benefits to responding to work and staying connected with friends, it can take away from how observant we are to our surroundings.

One of my favorite parts of hiking is putting my phone down, being out of cell service, and observing the tiny things: the bug on that leaf I don't want to step on, the sweet smell of new blossoms, the rustle of the leaves as a squirrel runs up a tree. What does this have to do with puzzles? In my mind, everything.


People often ask how I became so fast at completing puzzles, and a lot of it is just practice and experience of building numerous puzzles across my lifetime. However, I think part of it is observing the things around me: noticing the small details.

When you unplug from your phone to puzzle, you begin to focus on what is in front of you; that's when it becomes easier to be aware. You notice the small piece of green that is missing from the tree as it blends into the sky, and now you have new information to find the piece you are seeking. This process builds and grows faster as you puzzle. However, I believe it also expands when you are more observant during day-to-day activities.

Next time you are with friends and family, set your phone down and pay attention to the conversation, the smiles, and expressions of those around you. The next time you walk your dog, leave your phone behind. Notice the flowers your neighbor planted and how the water level in the nearby pond has changed. Taking time to notice these things will transfer to seeing the small details to complete your puzzle a little bit easier the next time you sit down at the table.

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