Summer may mean winding down and taking time off, but if you’re a student or someone working on a mid-year calendar, you’re already gearing yourself up for appointments and deadlines.
A surefire way to manage your schedule and commitments is by having the best academic planner that suits your needs.
College was the first time I ever used an academic planner. In high school, I mostly relied on my memory or jotting down notes on random pieces of paper, hoping that I would somehow retain everything I needed to know. But when I got to college, it was a whole different ball game.
I didn’t know how to keep track of all the mandatory activities and information. There were mixers, study group sessions, deadlines, and exams (to this day I still have nightmares about not showing up for a final exam.) Having an academic planner helped ensure that I didn’t drop the ball (or miss any finals) and it provided stability and comfort in a world that seemed fast-paced and pressure-filled.
Today, we have a slew of apps and online calendars to manage our schedules and deadlines, but having to toggle between these digital resources often wastes time and creates more frustration. A planner helps maximize your time and effort by collecting all of your information in one place.
That’s why we’ve rounded up the best academic planners of 2019-2020 to help make sure that this year is the most organized and best one yet.
What makes the best academic planner?
When searching for the best academic planner, you’ll want to find one that suits your organizational needs and aesthetic style. You’ll also want to consider if you want your academic planner to help you develop in other areas of your life, such as goal-setting, productivity, or self-improvement.
Here are some things to consider when looking for an academic planner:
- Layouts and formats – Are you someone who likes defined schedules and having their days broken down by the hour? Or do you prefer flexibility and space?
- Brainstorming – Do you want blank pages in your planner for creative journaling and reflecting on your day?
- Goal-setting and productivity – Do you want your planner to do more than just organize your schedule and tasks? Do you want to use it to help you strategically plan your days and make sure your daily tasks are in line with your overarching goals?
- Gratitude and self-improvement – Perhaps you want your academic planner to be a place to practice self care. You’ll want to look for a planner that offers inspiring quotes or writing exercises to practice gratitude.
You should also be on the lookout for an academic planner that’s sturdy, durable, and well-made. You’ll want to be able to toss it in your bag and take it to class.
If you’d like more guidance on choosing the best planner for your needs, you can also take our short and fun quiz here.
The best academic planners for your needs
There are lots of options when it comes to academic planners out there. Here are some of the best academic planners you can get today to make the next year your best one yet.
The Ink+Volt 2019-2020 Academic Planner is the best planner for those who want a streamlined way to manage their priorities, have space for brainstorming and journaling, and also keep track of their yearly, monthly, and weekly goals. It runs from August 2019 – July 2020.
This academic planner helps bring your year into focus by having you set a theme for the year and answer a series of writing prompts, such as “What would it look like if your year went perfectly?” Once you establish your big picture goals, you can use the yearly, monthly, and weekly layouts to help break down your goals into smaller components.
- 30 day challenges – At the beginning of the month, you can set out to complete a mini challenge and develop a habit in 30 days. This could be a habit that’s in support of your academic or professional goals. Or it can be something more personal and fun, such as “go a day without complaining” or “cook a new recipe every week.” Stretching yourself in your personal life is just as meaningful and fulfilling as crushing your goals.
- Time blocks – Instead of hourly blocks, Ink+Volt structures the day into morning, afternoon, and night. You can list out all the tasks and priorities you want to accomplish during these sessions, including deep, focused work. The time blocks give you the flexibility to achieve your biggest priorities, while ensuring that you don’t overschedule yourself or are beholden to a strict schedule.
The planner also features weekly journaling prompts for inspiration and introspection along with blank spaces to jot down or illustrate your ideas. You can choose between the signature soft touch cover and the book cloth cover.
For those who prefer a minimalist style with a focus on scheduling and documenting, you can’t go wrong with the Moleskine 18-month daily planner. It features a yearly and monthly overview, along with one full page per day that you can use to schedule your appointments, tasks, deadlines, or to document your memories.
If bright color and patterns are more your speed, you’ll appreciate Erin Condren life planners, which you can customize and personalize, and which you can get in a 12-month academic year format. The coiled planners come in all sorts of colorful styles and patterns and include monthly inspirational quotes as well as dated monthly and weekly pages. You can choose the color themes and the layout of the weekly pages, which come in vertical, horizontal, or hourly.
After struggling with health issues, the founder of the Panda Planner wanted to help cultivate gratitude, happiness, and productivity in his life. The planner was created using scientifically proven methods to help make you more productive and grateful, and because it is undated, you can start it whenever your academic year begins. The planner features a one day layout where you can write down your morning gratitude, priorities for the day, and an end-of-the-day review. This is a planner for those who want to incorporate gratitude and self reflection into their daily planning practice.
The best academic planners can change your life
Having an academic planner can help improve and streamline your life, by managing all of your essential information in one place.
An academic planner can also do more than just keeping track of your appointments. The best academic planners also serve your needs, whether it’s helping you crush your goals or making sure you take the time to reflect on your day.
Academic life may seem even more fast paced and overwhelming in this digital age, but you can steady yourself and steer your life in the direction you want to go, using the right kind of academic planner.