9 Best Study & Academic Planners for Students in 2021
There might be affiliate links on this page, which means we get a small commission of anything you buy. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Please do your own research before making any online purchase.
Do you want to learn how to get more organized in your academic or professional life?
Finding the best study planner for your busy schedule is a great way to have everything you need in one place.
If you're like me, your work often becomes scattered because you have so much going on and your schedule is up in the air. However, if you take the time to maintain a college study planner, you will always be able to reference your obligations, goals, and responsibilities.
To help you find the one that is right for you, here is a list of the top nine study planners for students and professionals. I'll go over the pros and cons of each so you can find one that best suits your needs.
No time to read the entire review?
Here's a quick look at our favorite study planners for students and professionals:
|BestSelfCo’s Self Planner||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
|BelfSelfCo's Weekly Action Pad||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
|Erin Condren’s Academic Planner||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
|The Work-Smart Academic Planner||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
|Panda Planner Pro||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
|Blue Sky Weekly & Monthly Planner||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
|Pretty Simple Planners - Weekly and Monthly||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
|The Mastery Journal||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
|Dated High School or College Student Planner||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
What You Will Learn
- Set Deadlines
- Create a Habit
- Features to Look for in a Study Planner
- Study Planner Reviews
- 1. Best Overall Choice: BestSelf Co’s Self Planner
- 2. Runner-Up Option: BelfSelf Co's Weekly Action Pad
- 3. Best Value for the Money: Erin Condren’s Academic Planner
- 4. Most Budget-Friendly: The Work-Smart Academic Planner, Revised Edition: Write It Down, Get It Done
- 5. Best Daily Planner Option: Panda Planner Pro
- 6. Best Budget Option for High School or College Students: Blue Sky Weekly & Monthly Planner
- 7. Best for Budget-Friendly Options for Busy Students: Pretty Simple Planners – Weekly and Monthly
- 8. Best Option for Skill Mastery: The Mastery Journal
- 9. Best Basic Student Planner: Dated High School or College Student Planner
- Final Verdict
Let's jump right in.
How could a study planner benefit you during the upcoming year?
The truth is, when you think about all of the things that you need to get done in the near future, it is probably completely overwhelming. You often wonder how you will accomplish all of your goals when there is so much on your plate.
It is important to know what you will use your planner for so you can make it a focused and organized study tool. Will you be using it to keep track of your homework assignments and projects? Or maybe you need it to keep track of your appointments, or even your personal goals.
Let your planner help you by using it to prevent yourself from procrastinating. Create a plan and stick to it until you see your goals all the way through.
With a study planner, you can break your big goals down into little tasks and plan out exactly when you will complete each one. If you are able to pinpoint one small thing that you need to get done every day in order to achieve your goal, you will make the progress that you need to succeed.
Do you find yourself procrastinating a lot when trying to study? Check out: The Study Plan Schedule Strategy (That Actually Works)
Break down your goal and set mini-deadlines for yourself. Setting deadlines is helpful, and having milestones for every few weeks will help you continue to feel like you are accomplishing something. With the progress that you gradually make, you will be motivated to keep going.
Creating deadlines for yourself to meet your goals is not an arbitrary thing. According to Forbes magazine, there are some things you should keep in mind when you are setting your schedule:
- Create specific and attainable goals.
- Don't make any promises that you will not be able to keep.
- Make your deadlines firm.
- Execute your plans.
- Do not stop your progress because you are scared you will make a mistake.
Essentially, you should lay out a reasonable plan for yourself and make a commitment to executing it. It is ok to be firm with yourself if you start to slip up and get behind on your deadlines. It is important to get back on track so you can keep up with your study planner.
Create a Habit
Use your study planner to make sure you have a task to complete each day. That way, working towards your goals becomes a habit. Even if the task is very small, keep the momentum going throughout the week. Set aside a specific time for every day that you will be working.
To do this, figure out when you perform your best. Is it right when you wake up, before your day starts piling up? Or maybe it is after you wind down at night and can sit and focus on what you are doing. Either way, determine the best time to do your work and set that time aside every day.
During this time, set aside any distractions that may prohibit you from doing your work. If you have a set amount of time, you are more likely to be able to focus on what you are doing and save any possible distractions for later.
Features to Look for in a Study Planner
Take some time to think carefully about your planner. Do you want a planner that has a section for every day, or a planner that goes by weeks?
Day-at-a-time study planners are ideal for people who are very detail oriented and have a lot of small tasks. Week-at-a-time planners give a better overview because they are able to let you see your entire week at a glance.
Day-at-a-time planners may be right for you if you have do to things at a specific time of day, because they offer more room in each day to take notes. However, if you only have one overall goal that is not time-sensitive, a week-at-a-time planner may be a better option for you.
After choosing the format of your study planner, you will need to decide if you want your schedule to move vertically or horizontally. A horizontal format is the most common, with wide spaces set apart for each day. However, a vertical format allows you to create long lists or put your day in chronological order.
Finally, a verso format has a horizontal week on each page, and space to take notes on the opposite page. This lets you have a task list on one page and a schedule for completing the tasks on the other.
You will also need to consider the size of your study planner. Do you want to be able to take it with you everywhere you go? Study planners range from micro size to grande size. Depending on how often you will need to reference your study planner, consider how much room you want it to take up.
Are there some supplemental features that would be helpful for you? Perhaps an important dates memo page or a birthday page?
You may need to reference some kind of conversion chart on a regular basis that would be great to have handy in your study planner. Consider any extra features like this that may be useful for you.
Additionally, do you find that you have important papers that seem to pile up, but you don't really have a specific place for them? If you have some papers that you need to keep with you often, look for a planner that comes with a pocket inside where you can slip those papers in.
How well-built do you need your planner to be? Typically, the higher quality study planners are also the most expensive, but if you plan on taking it with you everywhere, it may be worth the investment so it doesn't start to fall apart half way through the year. Consider the binding and the paper quality when looking for a study planner.
Study Planner Reviews
Take some time to think about how you want your planner to work for you, and how much you will be relying on it. For example, if you want something that you will be able to jot things down on throughout the day while you are out and about, you may not want to get a full-sized, heavy planner, but rather one that you can comfortably carry around with you all day.
Here are the top nine planners that may suit your needs.
1. Best Overall Choice: BestSelf Co’s Self Planner
BestSelf Co. is on a mission to provide people with the frameworks, systems, and tools to help people take action towards living a more fulfilled and meaningful life. Their planning tools and other products leverage the art and science of success, to help you achieve anything.
Their products have been featured on the Huffington Post, LifeHacker, Readers Digest, CNN, Buzzfeed, Business Insider, and more. BestSelf Co. is also proud to partner with Feeding America and donates a meal to someone in need with every purchase. Their Self Planner is designed to help you manage your time, plan your life, and define and work toward your own goals. It's a flexible, versatile planning tool that is perfect for students.
BestSelf Co’s Self Planner is an undated six-month planner. It has a hard cover, so it can easily be used on the go, when you don't have a desk or table nearby. The 100g white ivory paper is thick enough for fountain pens, and it has a back pocket and two ribbon place markers. Inside, it has templates to help you manage your time, clarify your priorities, benchmark your successes, and even self-reflect on your progress.
It has project planners and habit trackers that help students manage their time and study load every day. It even has a 6-month bucket list to help you dream big. The two bookmarks, along with perforated page corners, help you track multiple projects at once, and there is plenty of space for notes, sketches, and free-form ideas.
BestSelf Co’s Self Planner measures 7 x 10 inches and comes in either black or coral color. Every purchase provides a meal to someone in need through Feeding America.
2. Runner-Up Option: BelfSelf Co's Weekly Action Pad
The Weekly Action Pad from BestSelf is an incredible tool to help you manage time, get organized, and get everything done on time. It's more than just a note pad; it's an organizational system. To use the weekly action pad correctly:
- In the “Task” column, write down everything you need to this week that will take time. This helps you start to get organized and prevents forgetting things. If your tasks have a specific deadline, record it in the “due date” column. Otherwise, leave that column empty for now.
- In the “Priority” column, assign your tasks an “ABC” priority. “A” for tasks that are time sensitive, “B” for tasks that are important but not urgent, and “C” for tasks that are not crucial this week. Try to not assign yourself more than 2-3 “A” priority tasks per day.
- In the “time estimate” column, record how much time you think each task will take.
- Use the “E/N/D” column to record which tasks are energizing, draining, or neutral. Noting how certain tasks make you feel can help you organize when to get them done, as your energy levels fluctuate during the day, and reduces procrastination.
- In the “due date” column, add deadlines for tasks that don't have a due date. Use your assigned due dates and time estimates to set your own deadlines and try to not assign yourself more than 2-3 draining tasks per day.
- Add notes. Every page has space for notes in the far left column, and further notes on the back of each page.
- Celebrate your successes as you check off completed tasks.
This system is much more effective at helping you plan, prioritize, and complete tasks than a simple to-do list. It helps you organize your time to meet deadlines, reduce procrastination, and be more productive every week.
BelfSelf Co's Weekly Action Pad has 52 undated pages, so you can start any time and stay organized and productive for an entire year. It's a tool that is backed by the proven successes of highly productive people and is a great way to beat procrastination and stay on target.
It's a 7 x 11.75 inch notebook, with acid-free, 100gsm white ivory paper that is fountain pen friendly. An elastic closure and ribbon marker make it easy to take with you, stay on track, and turn your to-do list into a “done” list.
3. Best Value for the Money: Erin Condren’s Academic Planner
Erin Condren is famous for planners that are as fashionable as they are useful, and her designs have been featured on The Ellen Show, Rachel Ray, The Today Show, and in Family Circle Magazine. Her student planner is incredibly popular, with space to organize your class schedule, exams, assignments, and more, along with inspirational quotes and endless customization options. It's durable, useful, and a great value for the money.
Erin Condren’s Academic Planner has a full 12 months of customized planning, where you can choose and customize your start month to fit your academic year. It has monthly and weekly views, with lots of space for notes, exams, to-dos, and important dates. Colorful dividing pages have inspirational sayings, and it comes with stickers that are both useful and decorative.
This planner comes in a huge range of cover colors and patterns. Covers can be customized with your own text and name, and you can also choose the coil material, for an additional cost.
4. Most Budget-Friendly: The Work-Smart Academic Planner, Revised Edition: Write It Down, Get It Done
This large-format study planner is great for students as young as middle school aged, but just as effective for those in college. It provides the user with one place to keep track of deadlines and assignments, while also helping to develop critical executive skills that are needed to succeed in life.
This may be the right study planner for you if you are looking for more than just a blank calendar to fill in. It is an interactive planner of sorts, as the authors have provided information inside to help the reader.
This study planner provides tools to get organized, learn study skills, succeed in time management, create study plans, and stay focused. It also has enough space on the pages to allow users to evaluate their skills throughout the year. This planner urges the user to assess their professional weaknesses that need to be worked on, and to profit from their strengths. With simplified planner pages, this edition also comes with an improved form that helps students study for tests.
The planner has spiral binding, and is triple hole punched so it can fit into any binder. It comes with undated calendars so it can be used at any starting point during any year. It also comes with a reference calendar for future planning.
This is a great planner for people who need a little extra help staying motivated and organized. If the user follows the advice of the authors and uses the tools provided, they are likely to be more successful.
5. Best Daily Planner Option: Panda Planner Pro
The Panda Planner was created by Michael Leip, after illness and a traumatic brain injury left him feeling disorganized, anxious, and depressed. When conventional planners didn't work for him, he researched planners and productivity aids, doing research that would help him find a way to stay organized, but also fight anxiety and depression.
The Panda Planner is more than just a planner: It's a system to help provide the inspiration, motivation, and organization to manage stress and reach your goals. It's a great choice for students, because it helps manage monthly, weekly, and daily schedules, but also helps to build mini-routines and habits for productivity and mental health. These daily habits and organization tools build a mindset that keeps you productive every day.
The Panda Planner Pro is a 6-month planner, where you schedule and organize every part of your life. In the monthly view, you schedule deadlines and appointments, and plan ahead for the goals you want to reach that month. Choose a monthly area of focus and add a daily habit you would like to develop that month. In the weekly view, reflect on the prior week and review your successes and areas for improvement.
Break down your projects into simple baby steps. Plan the upcoming week and set goals. In the daily view, take a moment in the morning for a moment of positivity. Schedule your daily tasks and focus on 3-5 daily priorities. Use the notes areas for ideas and notes and check off your daily tasks. At the end of every day, week, and month, reflect on your goals and successes and build a healthy mindset.
The templates guide you through every step of your planning, keeping you organized, on track, and positive. The Panda Planner Pro also comes with 11 free eBooks, including A Billionaire's Secrets to Productivity, How to Cure Procrastination, How to Crush Your Goals, and How to Get Back on Track When You Fall Off Course. It also comes with a video start guide to show you how to make the most of your Panda Planner.
6. Best Budget Option for High School or College Students: Blue Sky Weekly & Monthly Planner
This stylish planner will help you stay on top of things all year. It incorporates fresh page designs that add style and offer the necessary room to take additional notes. It is large and durable, so it is perfect for people with busy schedules.
Made from thick, premium quality paper, this planner is environmentally friendly, as it is printed with soy-based ink on 50% post-consumer waste recycled paper. Its durable tabbed dividers will last throughout the year.
This sophisticated planner will easily fit the scheduling needs of busy students, or anyone who needs to keep track of appointments. Its front decor is protected by a plastic liner, so you don't need to worry about the planner getting damaged among your other belongings.
This planner is best for Millennials who love color, design, and adding their own notes. Because it is larger, it is best for people who carry big bags around, or for those who plan to leave their study planners at home. This planner has a feminine look that is aimed more towards women, but males would also get great use out of it for their organizational needs.
7. Best for Budget-Friendly Options for Busy Students: Pretty Simple Planners – Weekly and Monthly
This planner has “charming” written all over it, with its elegant floral design. However, it isn’t just cute—it also gets the job done properly.
If you’re looking for a straightforward planner, then you might want to consider getting this one. It features a whole-year preview, and places each monthly calendar on a two-page spread, allowing for a quick view of your schedule for the entire month. Furthermore, the weekly/daily schedule pages provide enough space for you to write your appointments, class schedules, or meetings. On top of that, there is space for a bulleted daily to-do list, making it a handy organizing tool that helps you get things done on time.
The planner also contains motivational quotes from influential historical figures to inspire you on a daily basis.
Unlike other planners that can accidentally snag or tangle with other items inside a purse, the book-bound spine on this planner ensures no issues when you store it.
This planner has a nice entry-level price point for students who are learning how to manage their time more effectively, as well as for educators who need a no-frills planner to keep track of class schedules and meetings.
8. Best Option for Skill Mastery: The Mastery Journal
This planner revolves around FOCUSing (Follow One Course Until Success). It teaches the user how to accomplish the important tasks that need to get completed in order to achieve a final goal. This book promises to help the user master productivity and focus within 100 days.
This is a great tool for people who tend to have trouble seeing their projects through until the end. It keeps the user's attention on their work in order to be successful in their long-term goal.
Every day, this study planner offers a guide through four FOCUS sessions, each beginning with a timer and one “focus.” Once the timer begins, the only goal is to finish the specified task. After four sessions, the user goes through a review process to determine their level of discipline and productivity.
Furthermore, this planner offers tips on how to prepare for the following day. It teaches how to establish tomorrow's routine, and how to determine your main goal for the day.
Finally, this journal guides you to evaluate your overall performance every 10 days. With reflection on your successes and struggles throughout the past 10 days, you can create a plan to help boost your level of success and find solutions for future problems that may arise.
This is another interactive planner that works to motivate the user through tempting times of procrastination.
9. Best Basic Student Planner: Dated High School or College Student Planner
If you are looking for a small planner that has enough room to take notes, this may be the right planner for you. It is small, however, it comes with a complete package of 144 pages, including:
- 104 calendar pages
- 24 monthly pages
- 16 reference pages
The annual calendar begins and ends in June and includes an “Advance Planning” page to help you prepare for the remainder of the calendar year. This planner includes reference pages that address:
- Weight conversions
- Math formulas
- Frequently misspelled words
With its nice compact size, it is easy to transport with you throughout the day. There is very little clutter in this planner, and it only has the essentials that you may need for success.
This study planner is especially useful for high school and college students because it includes success tips on useful subjects such as writing resumes, and tips for having a successful career. It focuses on self-responsibility, weekly goals, and inspirational quotes.
The quotes help to motivate students to succeed, and the book offers an organized layout for students to learn how to take on responsibility and set reasonable goals for themselves.
In conclusion, the best planner overall is BestSelfCo’s Self Planner. It helps the user stay on track with their goals while not being too specific in giving directions on how to do their work.
This is the perfect combination of motivating and liberating, as it allows the user to plan for themself, yet keeps them consistently working throughout the process. It motivates people through times of procrastination, yet offers space for the user to makes changes as needed.
What has been your experience with study planners?
Have you used any of these, or do you have additional recommendations? Leave your thoughts in the comments to share your experiences and help other people find the best planners for their needs.
If you're not much of a “planner” person, check out our roundup of free study plan templates you can download for free.
Don’t forget to share this post on Pinterest!