One minute i'm watching a TV show, it goes to an advert break, and i'm checking Instagram. What do I think i'm missing out on? Why do I feel the need to look? 

The truth is, I don't. There's no need, there's not even any want. It's habit. 

We live in this hyper connected world, where everything is connected. We go into a city centre, and our proximity settings ping up app suggestions, we go into a store and don't even need to reach for our card anymore and when we go home, we can set the thermostat before we even get there, and turn the lights on. 

We've stumbled our way into a world that would be unrecognisable today to someone even just 30 years ago, maybe even as little as 20, and that is in equal parts exciting as it is sometimes scary. The future of technology and our connected world is developing at record speed, and we've seen so much good come from this - new developments in healthcare, communications, transport, disaster relief, education... the list goes on. 

But how do we turn off when we need to? It's a common question and often vital for our attention span, creativity and wellbeing. We all need that down time, and I personally think that in a world so connected, it's no bad thing to also realise how technology can help us achieve that, whether it's through controlling mood lighting, listening to a sleep app or simply by making our lives more streamlined, more efficient. We don't all have the ease of access of being able to escape to the quiet of the countryside for an evening to get away from the constant buzz of the city. Most of us are just trying to muddle through and find some peace amongst the constant distractions. 

Step one - take advantage of your phones night time settings - They're there, and they're great. If you want your phone to dim at 8pm and have it stay that way until 8am, then get all over those settings. The softer yellow light is gentler on the eyes and not such a shock when the alarm goes off in the morning either. 

Step two - turn off your notifications, or at least limit them - I did this a long time a go and i've never looked back. If I want to see if i've got a new Facebook message, then i'll check the app, if it's urgent, they will phone me. Call me ignorant, but I don't like the feeling of being constantly available. 

Step three - embrace it and download an app like 'headspace' or something similar to get some down time. A bit of mindfulness never hurt and you can engage with the content without needing to interact with the app too much. Recognising that technology can actually help you in achieving some down time isn't defeating the point entirely,  I promise. 

Step four - find some real people and have a conversation. Apparently 55% of all human communication is non-verbal body language and 38% is tone, leaving only 7% verbal, so how is that supposed to work over a text? Even the best emoji can only express so much...

Step five - throw your phone out of the window and run off into the great unknown...but don't forget to Instagram that gorgeous view first...#sunset. 

Written by 

Katherine Thomson