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How to succeed in reconciling personal and professional life when one is CRA monitor?

When we are CRA monitor, our main mission is to do the monitoring, that is to say by definition traveling throughout his region or throughout France. You get up early in general; you come home late, sometimes you even sleep on the spot. In addition, workloads are increasingly important in the companies, so it seems that you do not to have time for yourself, family and friends, whether you are a man or a woman.

Balancing personal and professional life means giving equal predominance to each of these lives.

Concilier vie personnelle et vie professionnelle. Comment s'en sortir?















You will find below my 20 tips to help you to reconcile personal and professional life:

  1. Work in the train, plane, taxi or airport. The best is to have a pre-completed report template with key sentences and then fill it in the train, plane or taxi. You can write it on the computer if your company provides you with or hand-write it if you do not have it (you will encode them down once you return to your office). Be careful, think carefully to the confidentiality of your project when you work outside. Finally, to be sufficiently motivated and fit to work in transportation, it is best to sleep early before traveling. Working in when traveling will save you time, you will be more Zen when you return to the office…
  2. Do not expect more than what we can do in one day. Think also to foresee a space in your time schedule for the unexpected (as it is done in a budget). Set up work schedules, objectives, and tasks to do for the day. That avoids frustration…
  3. Respect your life rhythm. You can perform the important and urgent tasks in the morning when you’re well awake. At the beginning of the afternoon, it is the slump: postprandial period. You can then do routine activities, which require a little less reflection. In mid or late afternoon, you can come back to the important activities; it is the return of your effectiveness phase
  4. Use the Eisenhower matrix. I like using a small diagram called « The Eisenhower matrix ». They showed me this a few years ago in training on work organization. This is an analysis tool which classifies tasks according to their urgency and their importance.
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For example:

Important task, urgent (to do immediately): Preparing a monitoring visit for tomorrow.

Secondary task, urgent (plan on his agenda): Write his monitoring visit report to submit in 5 days.

Important task, non-urgent (to delegate to his project assistant for example): Send the latest version of informed consent validated yesterday by the CPP.

Secondary task, non-urgent (to delegate systematically to his project assistant): Book tickets for investigators for the investigator meeting in 2 months.

  1. When you are monitoring, do not answer systematically the mobile phone. You can stay, for example, on messaging (put your mobile phone in Airplane mode or vibrate) and allow a break in the morning and the afternoon to listen to your messaging and address only the emergency (or find a colleague to help you at office). You will be able to better focus you on your work site.
  1. Store or immediately throws your emails when you read them.

Regarding emails, store them immediately and if they are unnecessary throw them. This will save you from having to devote time to sort later. You will recover also your important emails more quickly if necessary! Renounce or pull back from mailing lists and newsletters that have no interest, and that will make you lose time (warning, except that of the clinical research blog)

  1. Class your mail into two piles: « to treat » and  » to read ». Prioritize correspondence to treat.
  1. Leave before 6.30am to avoid traffic jams on the monitoring days. You will be in better shape when you arrive on site.
  1. Arrive early on site to leave earlier.

Many CSC come early, around 8-8:30a.m. Inquire to arrive at the same time as the CSC. This way, you will progress more on your tasks and make corrections with the CSC before his departure.

  1. Make appointment in advance with the CSC and the investigator. Upon arriving at the site in the morning, confirm the appointment hour for corrections with the CSC and the investigator.
  1. Alert immediately your CRA manager when the workload is too great and communicates regularly on your work with your project manager.
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They should help you to find solutions quickly (they are there for this!) We should not wait to be in the wave, after it’s too late…

  1. You must say no, it is a proof of effectiveness.

It is better to say no or negotiate deadlines. When you have a task to do, you must always ask if it is up to you to do it or if it is the mission of someone else. Sometimes we are left to do the work of others; suddenly, you spread yourself and there is no time to do your own work.

  1. Avoid traveling on Friday in general and in particular Fridays of school holidays.

You will avoid traffic jams, train delays or plane. Experienced

  1. Avoid working from home.

Every day has enough trouble of its own. This is how the job encroaches on family life. It is better to track down the organizational issues and resolve them … If you are teleworking; you better have a room dedicated to professional activities. This will allow you to be more efficient and to avoid being disturbed or being pushed to inaction.

  1. Hire a serious and effective housekeeper who will clean out your home, wash, and iron your clothes, 1 time / week, if you have the means.

You count on average 4 hours / week to take care of an apartment of 70 m2 and a small family. The average cost is 288 euro / month, which can get 50% tax cut, for a real cost of 144 euros to be totally quiet during the weekend. One can hire directly or use the agency service like O2; Shiva … The cost is still higher by an agency that hiring an employee at home. Better to save money and hire directly an employee. Everything is explained on To find your employee, please visit the website of the employment center (Pôle Emploi).

  1. Order and have your shopping delivered at home or pick them up to « drive » (Auchan direct Carrefour drive).
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One does not always find all the products he needs but the main ones are there.

  1. Order and have it delivered via internet (travels, leisure, clothes and products).

There are good deals on, Amazon, Billetreduc for example. Most major retailers deliver at home. Shipping fees are sometimes free and cost you cheaper than moving (to your calculator).

  1. Get your hair done or receive beauty care at home.

You can find contacts in the yellow pages, Facebook or by searching on a search engine like Google.

Two other more radical possibilities:

  1. Change of position, that is to say, choose a more sedentary job if you have too much difficulty to manage.

You can become home-based CRA (working at home), sedentary CRA (desk at work, without travel), CRA startups (CRA responsible of bids and contracts who does not move). You can change profession while staying in the clinical research or change completely profession.

  1. Set about 80% and keep your Wednesday to make the maximum of the time with your children after a maternity leave.

Clearly, to be successful in reconciling personal and professional life, we have to efficiently organize the professional point of view but also personal. Yes, the life of CRA is quite compatible with a fulfilling family life! Many CRAs have been there and succeeded brilliantly. Do not demotivate.

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