How to Solve a Puzzle Fast

Puzzles seem to be a family staple. There are always those who get super into putting them together, while you have the casual passerby who puts a couple of pieces together just to say they helped. This guide is meant to help you guide a puzzle session with minimal frustration and maximal enjoyment.

1) Choose Difficulty Wisely

There’s nothing that can turn a puzzler away from puzzling than attempting a puzzle that drastically exceeds their skill level. I’m all for a challenge, but a new puzzler trying to take on a 10,000 piece puzzle might be a little too overwhelming.

Try to stick around a 500 pc puzzle for optimal speed. This piece count is challenging while still allowing the puzzler to employ the strategies below.

2) Decide if it will be Destroyed or Mounted.

Mounting a puzzle requires a little bit of forethought. Make sure you have all of the necessary materials to mount it if need be.

3) Choose a Good Workspace

This is critical! Is there enough arm space to move around? Is there room for you to sort puzzle pieces? Is your area going to be needed for something like a family dinner or a different activity? You want to choose a space that you can devote to your puzzle for several hours while still being social enough for family and friends to feel free to come and help.

4) Flip all Pieces Upwards

This is pretty straightforward. It’s hard to do a puzzle without knowing what the image is. If you take a little bit of time to flip all the pieces right side up at the beginning of the activity, you’ll save a lot of headache down the road when you’re trying to finish a section. 

5) Find the Edges and Corners

Solving a puzzle consists of separating similar pieces into groups and then systematically solving parts of the puzzle. Edges and Corners are some of the most distinct pieces of the puzzle because they have straight edges. These are the most effortless pieces to find and put together right off the bat, which gives your puzzle-making momentum while also containing the bounds of our puzzle. This allows you to space things out effectively.

6) Group Pieces by Color and Distinguishing Feature

Are there people in your puzzle? What about splashes of color? Find anything that separates sections of your image and separate them into groups. You want these groups to be manageable in size so that you can quickly and effectively manage them when it comes to assembly.

7) Group Pieces that have been cut uniquely

Consistent with Tip #6, are there any pieces that are cut differently? Each puzzle usually has a couple of strangely proportioned pieces. These could be used as landmarks and indicate where certain parts of the puzzle connect to the other.

8) Work on Small Sections at a Time

Rome was not built in a day, but a 500 piece puzzle can be if you focus on small pieces at a time. Once everything has been put into groups and organized by patterns, the tricky part is over. Work on each of the groups you put together one at a time and watch your puzzle take shape! You’ll be surprised how meditative focusing on one thing at a time can be! You’ll also move faster than if you tried to do everything at once.

9) Persist!

Puzzles are anything but mindless entertainment. They work both the right and left sides of the brain simultaneously, help reduce stress, and help you learn pattern detection. Not least among these is that it exercises your ability to focus on a single objective at a time. Even if it’s hard, know that persisting will help you develop successful habits in the future. 


Puzzles have so many benefits. They help you find patterns and develop focus. That doesn’t mean they should be more complicated than they need to be, though. Let us know in the comments how these tips worked and if you have any of your own!