2021 was the first year I gave the visual representation of my Theme of the Year a real thought. For those who aren't familiar, the idea of yearly themes is to find a word or a small phrase that captures an intention you might have for the year ahead.
I've found Themes of the Year to be a way to set an intention for the year ahead. It serves as a Northstar almost, a guiding light, a direction. It sets in motion some 'back of the brain' processing I find powerful enough to be worth doing again and again.
To deliberately trigger this mindset on a more daily basis, I wanted more representation of my theme in my everyday environment. To take it beyond a thought experiment to something that could be omnipresent.
What my theme of the year looked like in action
In 2021, my theme was the Year of Flourishing – representing finding my way out of a dark time. What I like about a theme like that, is that it lends itself well to visuals. It's easy to put flower emojis here and there, and add a blossoming background to my phone and work computer. It seems small, but it's a reminder of all that intention and thinking that went into picking the theme in the first place, and what it represents to me.
I've been so delighted by our monthly MWW mobile backgrounds, I decided to make the desktop backgrounds I used myself for 2021 and the ones I am using for 2022 available as downloads for all.
Year of Flourishing
In 2021 I had six spaces on my MacBook with the following focuses:
- secondary focus screen
- for later
If you want us to talk about my desktop set-up on MakeWorkWork and why there are so many different ones for 2021 and fewer for 2022 – send us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org to request it as a topic.
Year of Harmony
In MWW38 we talk about our plans for 2022 and I shared my theme: the Year of Harmony ⚖️.
Last year, I found that having these backgrounds provide context to what I was doing. The task at hand would be on my focus screen; email would be on comms, and the calendar glued to the planning screen always.
For 2022, I knew I'd wanted to incorporate desktop backgrounds into my theme so I went in with wanting to find new photos and redesign everything. It dawned on me it's not very harmonious to force a change you don't really want or need, so instead I landed on simplifying the setup.
I only really have three* now: focus, comms, planning.
*However when I have a second screen, which is most of the time now, I still use my old music background from 2021 and that's where Spotify lives. I also flipped the order around (yes, they are displayed in the order of my MacBook spaces!)
Intention is a big part of harmony for me; so this set-up helps stage what I'm working on. I would recommend thinking through how to make our little daily environments reflect a bigger direction we want to head into as a good reflection for anyone. It seems frivolous, but I find it to be incredibly powerful and worth-while to do.