Inspiration – What I Learned from a Puzzle

As a holiday gift, I bought friends a 1,000 piece puzzle and it looked like so much fun, I decided to buy one for my own family. It has a modern art design, Colour Study of Squares by Wassily Kandinsky.

I grew up in a home adorned with colorful, modern art and the puzzle brought back fond memories. The colors inspired me. I thought it would be fun to get lost in, or work on with my daughter or while half watching a show on TV!

My daughter declined the invitation to work on the puzzle together. In fact, she reminded me that she never was a fan of puzzles. I hadn’t remembered. It must have been my older daughter and son who liked puzzles.

So, the puzzle and I were left alone for hours. I had it all to myself. I realized I liked this arrangement. It was my project and somehow I loved that it was all mine and I could approach it whichever way I liked. 

Enjoying My Time and My Projects

Just like my sewing project, I relish working on these projects. I value the time I spend alone. I see myself as social and truly enjoying the company of others and at the same time, I have always had a strong need to draw my line in the sand and claim my personal time and space. My kids know this about me!

What boundaries do you set for yourself?  What kinds of alone time feeds your soul?

I am allowing myself to indulge in projects I would not have pursued in the past, because I believed they were frivolous and would not get me closer to achieving success in life.  Now that I have changed my mindset and redefined what success in life means to me,  I embrace the value of sitting quietly, with my thoughts rummaging wherever they want to roam.  This is where I find peace. 

As I dumped the puzzle on a poster board, the pieces seemed to disperse endlessly.  I needed a system.  Here’s what I devised:

Step 1:  Get 3 poster boards to house all the pieces.  And they must be thick, so when I carried them into                  my bedroom for storage, the pieces would stay put. 

Step 2:  Turn each piece right side up so I could see all the colors.

Step 3:  Group the pieces by color (as you can imagine, this takes hours and I am still working at it!)

I luxuriate in the puzzle as a reward after working many hours and when my brain needs a shift in how it is processing stimuli.  When I feel like I cannot absorb any more information, or am tired at staring at the computer screen,  the puzzle beckons me and I gladly surrender. 

My favorite time to work on the puzzle is an hour or two before sunset, when the daylight still streams natural light on my coffee table and I can see nuances in the colored pieces. 

In the timeframe of an hour or so, I am fortunate if I assemble 5 or 6 pieces. When I feel frustrated that I am not making enough progress in one area, I move on to another area with a different set of colors.

An Epiphany about Myself

I had an epiphany. . .  

Organized Chaos – that’s how I roll!

It struck me that the way I approach this puzzle is the way I approach my life and work! I juggle many balls in the air simultaneously, make consistent, slow progress in one area, and then move on to the next.   

Practically speaking, my daily routine looks like this:  2 hours on emails and marketing, 2 hours on client cases, 1 hour at the gym, 1.5 hours on writing, 1.5 hours creating new programs, 1 hour on advanced courses or attending webinars.  I do as much as I can do in each compartment and then move on to the next.    

Compartmentalizing is my modus operandi.  (Gotta love the Latin, my favorite subject in middle school!)

This is the way I roll. Sometimes, this process makes me feel anxious because the juggling seems to get faster and more balls are continually adding to the mix.   It also makes me feel alive.  I  love that I am embracing something new all the time.  This lights me up.  I am not sure it is the most efficient method but it has become my method.  

How do you work? What have you noticed? I would love to hear!

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