DIGITAL OBESITY: Humanity Needs To Find Right Balance Of Consumption & Creation












In the exhilarating and sometimes mind-numbing world of consuming massive amounts of information online, humanity needs to have a new mindfulness of not only toxic digital consumption behaviors (social media, apps, video games, emails...) but the need for healthy creation. Digital obesity is the continuous consumption of technology that plays a negative role on creativity, innovation and well-being. The brain has a strong desire to create and can be paralyzed if all we do is scroll, like, scroll, scroll some more and lurk online. Creating ideas and inspiration offline (and online), no matter big or small, will allow your consumption to expand in a healthy fashion. Creation, authenticity and human-connection provides significant clarity.

There is a pattern for organizational health. The most innovative and creative companies have a culture of unplugging and disconnecting from work. These employers of choice put a premium on family time, employee development and community service. (Read 4 Reasons Why The Most Innovative Companies Are Hiring Emotional Intelligence) 


Digital obesity is negatively building a workforce of anxiety, stress and depleted focus (goldfish have surpassed humans with attention span!). Our brain simply cannot process the abundance of digital signals that rewire our brains. This transcends into robotic unproductivity. “I feel like a zombie,” confessed one frustrated executive. Workplaces are struggling to conduct meetings (and interviews!) without professionals engaging with their mobile devices. Wellness experts are well aware of the epidemic. "Part of total well-being in today’s world means you have to have the ability to cut off the digital world….focus on digital detoxification.  One of the number one illnesses / causes of death in the near future is going to be directly attributed to stress.  To me, stress comes from never being able to unplug.  As we become more and more dependent on electronics, this problem is only going to get bigger," said Garrett Mersberger Director of Wellness Kohler Waters Spa. "Just take a second and think about how long you go in between checking your phone?  Some people cannot go five minutes without checking something on their phone.  The brain never has a chance to shutdown / reboot in this world."

We have to be smart about how and what we choose to consume (especially during election years!). Using social media is just like those ready-to-eat salad bars at grocery stores. You can choose to consume good stuff (spinach, peppers, nuts) or bad stuff (noodles, pudding, and Jell-o). Being mindful of what we choose to consume is key.


Creation, this digital nutrition, allows us to reboot and makes us feel more human.


Here are a few tips for digital nutrition:

  • Block out time on your calendar to create. Go offline and work on projects or exercise. This will give your brain time to relax from digesting information and stimulate a whole new area of the brain.

  • Consume "news feed" data online periodically in intervals of 30 minutes max.

  • Schedule brainstorming sessions with colleagues that fosters outputs and do walking meetings outside when weather permits to promote creativity.

  • Comment and create new content online.

  • Self-monitor your time just scanning online data.

  • Slow down to speed up!

  • Get outside and be a kid at heart, EXPLORE AND PLAY!

40% of American kids when asked who their best friend is

replied "my mobile phone."

Digital detoxification starts with how we manage email. Many successful and highly productive professionals block out time early in the morning or later in the day to focus solely on emails. All incoming emails are not equal. If we are always corresponding to first-in-the-inbox, we lose sight of priorities and start to treat emails like they are all equal. They are not.

Consumption is exhilarating but it also can slowly deplete our energy and productivity. A higher awareness of creation vs. consumption that fits your style combined with a commitment to digital detoxification will lead to significantly improved performance, well-being and happiness. Explore above online learning.

To your continued success,

Bill Marklein

Founder, Employ Humanity

Inspiring Emotional Intelligence in humans and the workplace

by Bill Marklein, Founder Employ Humanity