How To / Do Less!

6 years ago by

I have a theory that the most depressing day of the year is the Tuesday after Labor Day. Why? Because in one jarring day we transition from the idle days of an August summer to the frenetic energy of September. Still influenced by 18 plus years of schooling, we sharpen a row of pencils and line them up like soldiers on our desk as we dive into our flooded inbox and click clack away like maniacs.

At the Atelier, we want to say no thank you to that crazed energy. Instead, we want our daily lives to resemble the afternoons and meals we salivated over in Call Me By Your Name. Le sigh. While that’s not entirely possible every day of our lives, we do think there are specific aspects of our lives in which we can do a lot less, and thus do things better, with intent, purpose and heart.

Below we rounded up how we like to do less in the hopes of holding onto that slow, August heat for as long as possible.

Garance | @garancedore

Dogs. As simple as that.

Having dogs (yes, we adopted another dog) is the simplest way to simplify your life. I could write a while about this here, but we’re not on The Puppy Channel – so I am going to keep this simple.


Food : happy. Walk : happy. Belly rub : SO happy.
You leave : sad. You come back : can’t-keep-their-shit-together-happiness.

You’re sad and they come rest their head on your knees. You’re happy and they jump with you. You have sex and they bark when you come. They protect you at all times. Dogs, they don’t second guess.

They just know.

They couldn’t care less what’s your job, where you come from, and what you’re wearing. Dogs, they’re totally comfortable in their (naked) body.

Lastly : they’re wild. So, even in the eyes of my incredibly spoiled, domesticated, socialized dogs, I can see nature.

In these moments, I am reminded to come down to earth. I am reminded that words don’t say that much. I am reminded that actually, existing is quite simple.

Yes – all this from something as simple as a dog.

Emily | @emnote

I’ve always been a fan of the intimate social situation. Big group parties? Big group dinners? Nah, they’ve never been my thing. This may be my social anxiety speaking, but over the years I’ve found that I’m incapable of making small talk with people. Rather than “what do you do for a living?” or, “travel plans for this summer?” I like to jump to something a bit more like, “do you believe that GDP is really the best measure of success for our economy?” or, “do your values align with the work that you do? Does it make you feel fulfilled?”

Because of this, I’ve found that spending time either one on one or in smaller groups is really what fills me up socially. I’ve always been friends with lots of different people, but I prefer to see them individually or in a group of three to four max. It makes for more meaningful conversation, lots of those deep belly laughs, and even occasionally some tears.

Gabby | @gabrielle_rubino

Ugh, another text message! They make me cringe, emails too! Call me! Pick up the phone and lets have a conversation. I have stopped doing the back and forth text/email, and started using the old telephone keypad and making calls.

This old friend has given me back 1) VOICES, voices with emotions and feelings, maybe even a laugh 2) actually finalizing a plan with a date/time and meeting spot all at once 3) most importantly real moments with real connections.

Veronica | @veromcc

Everyone should do less in their writing. When I edit someone’s work I never make it longer, always shorter, and there’s a reason for that. An impactful punch is fast, it doesn’t linger on the body waiting for approval. Words should do the same. They should be thoughts, statements, feelings. Not meandering sentences I get lost in. The Gettysburg Address was a whopping 272 words. Whatever you’re trying to say, you can always say it with fewer words. I promise.

Bogdana | @Bogdanaya

In social circumstances I usually identify myself as vegan just to withdraw from conversations about what I “can” or “can’t” eat.

While I eat 99% plant-based, I do slip in an occasional homemade greek yogurt from Greecologies or a piece of halva from a friendly street vendor in Istanbul.

The reason I eat mostly plant-based is because I like my food to be simple. Throw some arugula in a bowl, slice an avocado and tempeh, an ugly heirloom tomato when in season, homemade cheesy dressing with nutritional yeast and you’ve got a delicious lunch full of nutrients.

But don’t let my short ingredient list fool you into believing I eat like a Victoria’s Secret Angel. If you’ve got a piece of freshly toasted rye on your plate, I’ll be sure to steal it.

Carie | @cariep

As I’ve gotten older and definitely as a result of the state of things politically today, I’ve adapted how and how much I consume the news each day. I want to be informed and actively engaged, but you can be inundated every minute of every day with information if you so choose and I often come away feeling drained, uninspired, and overwhelmed. To deal, I decided to consume information briefly in the morning, at lunch when I can, and at the end of my work day.

I listen to The Daily from the New York Times and I read the New York Times morning and evening briefings and have the Sunday paper delivered to my house. I like the routine it brings to my days. And while I read other sources and go to different sites for inspiration and pleasure, having dedicated times when I do this, makes me look forward to it and frees up the time I used to spend trying to consume it all to actually do things that bring me pleasure. I definitely still go down the rabbit hole of Instagram and love a bit of celeb gossip, but less and less these days.

Caitlin | @caitlinvillarreal

“Work smarter, not harder,” is a motto that I live and die by in my work habits… but after a few big life changes the past two years, it’s one I’ve reinterpreted for living in general. For me, it’s about being thoughtful and focused; not distracted. At work, I won’t try to write new marketing materials while also sifting through my email inbox or checking Slack… at home, I’ll dedicate a Sunday to small projects that make a big difference in our everyday lives (get fresh flowers, update the kitchen cabinet knobs, do a quick closet clean)… in relationships, it’s about being present with people when you’re really with them — no phone, no social media, no emails — especially on the weekends (and date night).

Christina | @christina_holevas

When I think of doing less, I think first of my wardrobe (no surprise there). I’ve always been a bit of a minimalist when it comes to my own style, but this year I’ve gotten slightly crazy about editing my closet. I think something about working in fashion for the past couple of years has made me really sick of all of the consumption. I still like to shop! But I try to do it in a way that’s much smarter. I buy basics and essential pieces that I know I’ll get a lot of wear out of, rather than something trendy that I’ll only wear once. And I’m constantly cleaning out my closet. I donate and resell very often. Having fewer items to choose from makes getting dressed in the morning way easier.

I also think that as I get older and learn more about myself, I’ve started to “do less” socially. What I mean by that is that I no longer feel like I need to be at every party or be everyone’s best friend. I focus on surrounding myself with the people that matter and if a friendship or a relationship isn’t working, I don’t force it. Do less!

Vanessa | @sawsomething_

We live in an era of more is more. More, but not necessarily better. Jim Collins calls it, “the undisciplined pursuit of more.”

I think that smart phones and social media are the principal culprits here. We constantly know what everybody’s up to; where they are, what they’re eating, what their nieces look like. Not only is it an information avalanche, it’s also an opinion avalanche. It’s giving us the false illusion of having to do more, of having to be somewhere else, somewhere cooler. It’s exasperating!!

FOMO led to JOMO (joy of missing out). We’re now creating new technologies to limit our time spent on said technology. Sounds like we need help. So here’s what I do to do less (on the weekends, at least).

I charge my phone in an another room. Which leads me to lie horizontally or read the newspaper (yes, an actual printed newspaper.) I take a nap on Saturdays AND Sundays. I think and ponder. I get bored. I plan less. All this nothingness ends up being invigorating. Everybody’s super busy doing everything at once, and I’m busy doing nothing. With the help of my friends of course.

Mary | @_marebear_

This sounds silly, but since I started working at the Atelier, I have noticed so many things about myself that were almost inauthentic to who I am as a person, and have changed them accordingly! When I first started working here I had hair extensions (goodbye/RIP to the thousands of dollars I invested in my hair over the years!!), eyelash extensions (which were epic, but not worth it to lose all your natural lashes), and constant spray tans to showcase a certain look (okay, I still get the spray tans). As the days, weeks, and months passed, I was immersed in conversations about natural beauty, I saw our team push to cast REAL women in our content, and I begin to not recognize myself in the mirror anymore. I was consumed by having my hair look so perfectly done, covering up every imperfection on my face, and dressing in a certain way because I worked in such a fast paced fashion forward industry, that I lost touch with who I was. I really missed my authentic self. I missed getting out of the shower and feeling like all I had to do to get ready was throw on some clothes and go on with my day. The purpose of this little blurb is basically to say that since I have been a member of the team at Atelier Doré, I have realized less is more. I don’t need fake hair and pounds of makeup to go about my day, I just needed a bit of time to realize that. And now, I’m so happy to be on the other side.

Sarah | @sarahhfischer

Last winter/ early spring, I was struggling with these really random eyes rashes that just wouldn’t go away. Think puffy and dry skin — really uncomfortable. I went to the dermatologist who wanted me to go on medication (absolutely not). I was slathering Aquaphor around my eyes in the hopes of hydrating the rashes away. That didn’t work. I started using eye drops that my co-worker recommended. That didn’t work either. I honestly couldn’t figure out how to get rid of them. So finally, I just decided to stop using all my cleansers and just wash my face with hot water to see if that helped. Thankfully, they went away in a couple of days and I’ve been washing my face with only hot water ever since — less is more for your face!

Jane | @_janekim

Spend less time on your phone! I’m allowed to say this as a social editor :) Phone addiction is never good for your mind and body. There’s an app called Moment which tracks how much time you spend on your phone a day, and it’s pretty jarring to see exactly how many hours you can spend on texts/social/email/whatever (my count today: 2 hrs 42 mins, ack). By spending less time interacting with your phone, you can do more outside of phone-land, such as catching up with a friend in person instead of texting them, reading that magazine that’s been sitting on your bedside for the past few weeks, or maybe even getting an extra 2 hrs 42 mins of sleep?

Linne | @linnehalps

I just moved to the city and I don’t know a ton of people. I have a few really close friends that I’m lucky are here as well. But, it feels immensely different coming from a tiny college campus where everyone knows everyone. When I first got here, I think I rationalized that in order to feel settled and at home, I needed to keep as busy as possible! So I started reconnecting with friends I hadn’t spoken with since I was 13, ensuring that I had drinks/ dinner plans every night after work, afraid going home to a too-quiet apartment would make me homesick. I was scheduling my weekends so tight between brunch plans, ice cream dates, museum excursions, etc. But, instead of feeling calm and a part of a community here, I just ended up feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and drained! I’ve realized that the key to ACTUALLY feeling settled and at home is to DO LESS! To give myself the space and alone time to sleep in, lounge on my couch, catch up on Bachelor in Paradise, do yoga, read a book, FaceTime with my family, or cook a meal. Doing less has allowed me to feel more in control, more calm, and more present in what could be an otherwise tumultuous (post-grad…oy!) moment.


Add yours
  • Love this post. Need less, do less, live more. And the photo at the top is so gorgeous – thank you for sharing your beautiful selves, Ladies Atelier!

  • Such a great post! One of my all time favorites.

  • Agree, with Garance on the benefits of owning a dog. We bought a pup last year and I confessed to my husband I felt as though I was having any affair, I was so enamoured, looked forward to seeing him on waking, coming back home, going out to breakfast with him,snuggling on the couch etc. Enjoyed all of the above opinions and find I have been working on some of these myself. Veronica’s is the hardest! Thanks guys

  • Dog (5-month Golden Retriever puppy)–check
    Use phone for conversations more and everything else that is on it WAY less–check
    Improve writing to make impactful and shorter–check
    Read news thoughtfully and critically (subscribe to Economist and FT, checking out NYTimes, WSJ, NYDaily News and NYPost for local NYC news only)–check
    Consider purchases (clothes, makeup, shoes, etc.) with myself as reference, not the hyper-fashion world–check
    Thank you for this post!

  • marie-anne capdeville September, 10 2018, 5:39 / Reply


    super happy song le matin!!

  • Jorge Alexandre Teixeira September, 10 2018, 5:53 / Reply

    The Dream Team *_* !!! And Killer Céline Shoes, Chris!!!

  • Great post and thank you all for sharing here. Always great to hear other people talk about ways they have learned to cut out the unnecessary and have a more “bare bones” approach to work, life, etc.

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