The importance of time management in clinical trials can’t be understated, with delays and missed deadlines quickly maxing out budgets, and having the potential to terminate trials altogether. Many missed trial deadlines, according to some research, occur due to poor project management and inefficient use of time rather than poorly executed scientific approaches.
With this in mind, it makes sense for students of clinical research training to get into the habit of practicing superior time management strategies now, before they begin working professionally.
Here are a few basic yet effective approaches to follow.
Set Your Goals
When you’re taking your clinical research training, you’re already setting the stage for adopting the mindset needed for overseeing real-world clinical trials. One of the first things professionals do in a research setting to take command of time management is set realistic goals. Students should aspire to be equally goal-oriented in their approach to their studies. Looking at tasks that need to be completed according to your online course curriculum, divide upcoming tasks by priority. From there, your goal-oriented tasks should be:
- Scheduled into short time blocks
Don’t Try to Take on Too Much at Once
Just as clinical trial researchers can become overwhelmed by tasks that need to be completed within a certain timeframe, students can become stressed when examining their own workloads and deadlines. Rather than trying to multi-task in an attempt to squeeze everything in, it’s more efficient to focus on one task at a time, working within a self-imposed system of scheduled priority.
The worst enemy to your productivity as you concentrate on the task at hand is distraction, so it will be in your best interest to keep your phone well out of sight. Also be sure to work behind closed doors in as peaceful an environment as possible, and make it clear to anyone else you live with that you don’t wish to be disturbed while you work.
Use Technology to Your Advantage While Taking Your CCRP Training Online
While your phone can prove to be a great distraction to your study efforts, outside of study time it can also serve as a highly effective tool for keeping you on track with your scheduled goals. Rather than relying on post-it notes and the power of memory alone, it’s much more reliable to use the calendar alert technology built into your phone to be sure that any upcoming assignments, meetings, class times, and study blocks don’t get missed. Various apps might also be put to good use for scheduling tasks and to-do lists.
You might also want to equip yourself with an efficient home office to foster an ideal environment for training up for your online clinical research diploma. Beyond the standard laptop or computer needed for online learning, students putting together a virtual office should consider the following items for optimal study sessions:
- High-speed internet connection
- Adequate lighting
- Ergonomic seating
- Quality sound-blocking headphones
Pace Yourself With Scheduled Breaks
A clinical trial is much more of a marathon than a race. Learning how to put in hard, committed work while you train for a job in the field is a great way to prepare for the road ahead, but it’s also critical to give yourself allotted breaks to prevent burnout.
One effective technique you might think to use is the Pomodoro time management method, advocated by its users for its many proven productivity benefits. Making use of a simple pen, paper, and timing device, the approach suggests that you:
- Schedule 25-minute allotments of highly focussed work time
- Jot down any distractions, but keep to the task at hand
- Take a 5-minute break after the 25 minutes is up
- Tick off each completed time allotment
Ticking off each task as you move through your list will give you a sense of accomplishment, while the committed breaks you take in between will allow your mind to rest and re-set. To further relax the mind through the study day, the method advises a longer break of 20 minutes following four completed 25-minute time blocks.
Are you interested in learning how to take CCRP training online?
Contact the Academy of Applied Pharmaceutical Sciences for more information on its Clinical Research, Drug Safety and Pharmacovigilance diploma program!