Proactive Time Management for Online Learning

In the following modules, our learning specialists offer videos and interactive resources to support students in developing proactive time management strategies, specifically for online coursework. Our partners in the Penn Online Learning Initiative were invaluable in supporting the development of this resource. We recommend starting with the self-guided Time Management Self-Assessment.

Time Management Self-Assessment

This self-assessment will help you think more deeply about your habits and what you can do to improve your time management skills, especially as you prepare for online coursework and remote learning.

Proactive Time Management Videos and Resources

What is Proactive Time Management?

When it comes to time management, we often assume that scheduling is the extent to which we can manage our time well. But, what if time management is much more than that? How can we tap into the results that time management affords so many people?

Well, we’ve come to understand that time management is a little less about “managing your time” and more about increasing and maintaining your productivity. Time management is actually a holistic skill based on four competencies: Planning, Working Smarter, Self-Regulation, and Flexibility. The synergy of these competencies is what you observe as productivity. This productivity, in turn, empowers you to handle whatever challenges you may encounter.

We’ve selected some of our favorite strategies and tips for each of the four competencies to share with you. Read through our words of wisdom and download our worksheets to think about how you can successfully manage your time and increase your productivity this semester.

Syllabus Analysis

Once you’ve figured out when you will study or complete assignments, you’ll need to think about how to upgrade your work efficiency in those time slots. Your syllabus will help you discover the study activities that translate to success in the course. Establishing working goals and checkpoints for feedback will help you stay on track. Finally, taking breaks will help you maintain your work efficiency over a longer period of time.

Planning & Project Management

Planning is the competency we are most familiar with. This is because we know that we should use syllabi to plan out our schedules for each week throughout the semester. However, we may not capitalize on all of the information that a syllabus provides. We may be aware of our weekly commitments and that consistent study time is ideal, but how can we be realistic about how long routine assignments may take? How can we make optimal use of a visual calendar and its additional features?

Self-Regulation: Prioritize, Optimize, & Revise

Self-Regulation is the competency that generates consistent improvement because you are reflecting on how to optimize your environment and work habits. By evaluating yourself in specific ways, you can address challenges in a more streamlined fashion.


Flexibility is about adjusting quickly to your circumstances and anticipating changes. Instead of reacting to situations without a plan, we hope you will learn to become more flexible in a very proactive sense.

Your Feedback

After you have a chance to engage with this module, we would appreciate your feedback. Your comments will help us improve this Proactive Time Management module and develop additional modules on other topics.