5 Best Study Planners for Students and Professionals (Our 2020 Review)

5 Best Study Planners for Students and Professionals (Our 2020 Review)

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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 five 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:

Best overallBest overallThe Work-Smart Academic PlannerCLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Best for skill masteryBest for skill masteryThe Mastery Journal CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Best for high school and college studentsBest for high school and college studentsDated High School or College Student PlannerCLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Best for professionalsBest for professionalsBlue Sky Weekly & Monthly PlannerCLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Most AffordableMost AffordablePretty Simple Planners - Weekly and MonthlyCLICK HERE FOR PRICE

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)

Set Deadlines

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.​

​And if you're having trouble remembering the material you're trying to learn, then The Feynman Technique can help you solve this issue.

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 five planners that may suit your needs.

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.


  • Uses logical language in its menu of options.
  • Teaches strategies for personal self-management.
  • Increases the user's sense of self-efficacy.
  • Offers clinical tools that lead to success.


  • Some may not like the undated calendars, as they must be filled in manually.
  • This is a larger planner, so it may not be as easy to transport as others.
  • It may not be right for people who are not interested in an executive career path.

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.


  • Provides structure for the work day.
  • Straightforward journal that is easy to follow.
  • Hard cover and high quality.


  • There is a lot of text on each page, which some may find distracting.
  • Higher priced planner.
  • A bit heavy.

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.


  • Helps improve organization
  • Includes a grade record and class schedule page to keep you on track throughout the week
  • Small enough to carry in a purse or small backpack
  • Budget-friendly


  • Not great for people taking spring classes that begin in May
  • Does not have monthly dividers on the side
  • Made out of flimsy material that may break down throughout the year

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.


  • Affordable
  • Has lots of room to write notes
  • Incorporates attractive colors and designs


  • Does not have a pocket
  • The pages are slightly rough

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.


  • A simple planner that gets the job done.
  • Provides an overview of the entire year in one page.
  • Has a two-page monthly calendar for a quick look at schedules and special dates.
  • Space is provided for bulleted, daily to-do lists.
  • The spine is book-bound, so it does not snag on other items inside a purse.


  • There are no monthly tabs to more easily locate specific entries.
  • The cover is flimsier than most standard planners.
  • The binding may not be able to withstand heavy use through the year.

Final Verdict

In conclusion, the best planner overall is The Work-Smart Academic Planner, Revised Edition: Write It Down, Get It Done. 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.

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