About Solving Task Saturation for Museum Workers


Lively discussion at the American Association of Museums (AAM) 2012 annual conference Ideas Lounge session “Rising Expectations, Task Saturation, & Time Poverty for Museum Workers: Fully Loaded Camels Seeking Solutions” generated many new ideas that now have been added to the “Solutions!” document along with the suggestions proposed at other conference sessions. [UPDATE 7 JUNE 2021: THIS WIKI IS NOW DEFUNCT. FOLLOWING Solutions! DOCUMENT IS NOW UPDATED AS THE LAST LINK ON THE ABOVE TOP RIBBON’S Task Saturation Documents TAB.]

Participants in the above AAM discussion session suggested that a blog platform would be more effective in sustaining useful conversations surrounding solutions to the time poverty and task saturation difficulties experienced by museum workers than the prior  Museum Worker Task Saturation Wiki web site.

In an attempt to involve more museum workers in identifying and sharing solutions to rampant time poverty and task saturation in our field, I have launched this experiment in the blogosphere. 


Those looking for background and analysis of the problem per se. can access the above Task Saturation Documents page or the Wiki web site. The focus of this blog, however, will be sharing hints, individual and collective strategies, more or less subversive approaches, self-affirming attitudes, positive perspectives and philosophies that will help museum workers overcome what I believe is one of the most serious––yet almost entirely ignored and nearly never addressed––problems in the field. Of course, this dilemma is rising expectations on all sides for museum worker performance, stagnant or shrinking resources needed to meet the expectation inflation, resulting time poverty, task saturation, and stress.

As argued elsewhere in the Museum Worker Task Saturation Wiki web site “Problem Statement” document on this blog’s Task Saturation Documents page & irregular posts, I believe strongly that museum workers exist as already fully loaded camels standing in a continuous rain of straws (read rising and altogether new expectations). We must learn to manage this expectation inflation in a humane manner if we are going to be able to preserve our own physical, mental, spiritual health––to say nothing about maintaining our ability to achieve the missions, goals, and visions of our institutions.

This will be an irregular blog, but I will post as often as time permits.

My first post reviews what I believe is the most valuable book for fully loaded camel museum workers encountered to date. It provides museum practitioners with a critical perspective and a workable strategy for taking control over their long-lost work/life balance.

If followers gain nothing else from this blog, please read William Ury (2007),The Power of a Positive No: How to Say No and Still Get to Yes, New York: Bantam Dell. It is extremely useful for preserving your well-being and improving the quality of your working life.

Stay tuned.

Paul C. Thistle

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