Top Product: Academic Smart Planner | $23 | Amazon
As a perpetual student—or well, as someone who at least feels like I’ve been in school for centuries with the last two COVID-prompted virtual semesters of grad school behind me—I feel like I know my way around planner options. I’m really big on at least the illusion of having-it-all-togetherness, and a nice planner with my assignments and writing deadlines all written out in front of me makes me feel like I’ve got it all together—even if I don’t know how I’m going to get it all done just yet.
Maybe you’re the same way? We’re still early in the semester and there is still time to pull yourself together if you’re struggling with pandemic fatigue and procrastination. One of these bright planners might help you figure out a plan to stay on track with goals this year.
Here’s my breakdown of the best planners for college students. Really though, whether you’re working on your Bachelor’s, struggling through graduate school, or are far out of college and just need to get a little more organized with your work schedule, something here is likely to be a good fit.
Best Overall: Moleskine 18 Month 2020-2021 Planner
Moleskine Weekly Planners are perfect for a variety of needs, including business planning, bullet journals, travel planning, drawing/sketch diaries, and reading journals. One great thing about Moleskine monthly & weekly planners is that they come with grids and pages that can be used for to-do lists and project tracking to ensure you’re on track to reaching your goals.
These planners are also made from high-quality materials, including creamy, thick paper pages that are perfectly textured for writing with a ballpoint pen, marker, or pencil.
Best Productivity: Simple Elephant Daily
Are you looking to take control of your destiny this year? Then, say no more. The Simple Elephant Daily planner is perfect for organizing your thoughts and schedule.
This product even comes with a mind map and vision board to encourage the incorporation of intention in your everyday life. There is also space for you to pursue a 90-day or monthly gratitude plan, so you can manifest the 2021 of your dreams.
As a bonus, this stylish agenda is made from soft faux-leather (i.e. no animal cruelty here!) and has no-bleed paper. This planner is available in a variety of colors and also comes with stickers if you’re into personalization.
Best Goal: The Very Busy Planner
I like to use my planner space not just to plan for what’s ahead in my week, but to also plan farther ahead and to track my progress toward certain long-term goals. If you’re the same way, you might want to check out Amy Knapp’s The Very Busy Planner.
This beautiful little planner is compact but has plenty of space to track your class assignments while not skimping on creative prompts to get you thinking of possibilities for self-improvement. For example, each month it has a beautifully illustrated page asking you to reflect on what went well and what could have gone better. There are also gorgeously drawn pages with just plain practical things a planner should have, like a page to keep track of birthdays and another to plan holiday shopping lists. Plus, it has tons of colorful stickers in the back, and I don’t know about you, but I still enjoy stickers from time to time. The Very Busy Planner is overall a great option for college students who want to plan and reflect in equal measure. But it could work, really, for any adult wanting to look inward and works toward improving themselves on a regular basis. I’ve been using this one for a little bit now, and I just can’t help but feel inspired using a planner as bright and positive as this one. It’s also small enough to easily fit in your backpack or most purses.
The only drawback, I would say, is that this planner is a dated one, so it can only be used through December 2021. I can honestly see myself tearing out some of the evergreen pages, though, to keep on track with long-term goals.
Best for Women: She Believed She Could So She F*cking Did
Sometimes, getting your sh*t together can be stressful. Luckily, Sourcebooks is making that project a little bit more fun by infusing the process with a healthy dose of humor. Packed with hilarious motivational phrases and badass affirmations, the She Believed She Could So She F*cking Did is a must-have for the ladies in your life getting it done!
Keep track of your important appointments and events with the planner’s sarcastic stickers, which include “payday, bitches,” “another sh*tty meeting,” “someone’s f*cking birthday,” and more.
This 6" x 8" planner has a durable hardcover and double spiral wire-o binding for easy writing and to last the full 18-months. It’s also beautifully designed with floral patterns and is manufactured in an environmentally responsible way.
Best Academic: Journalistic Weekly & Monthly
Fashioned with an elastic band, this planner offers different options to organize your life by day, week, and month. With a blooming flower pattern, this product is super durable and is fits easily in your backpack or tote. The monthly pages are durably coated to make it easy to divide up your academic year and even come with pockets. It also has a past and future calendar, so that you can more easily merge your new one with your old one.
The weekly view pages have enough space so that you can write as detailed notes as you’d like. The top priorities for the week are highlighted at the top of these pages, so you’re always keeping in mind what’s most important.
Because of its wire binding, this planner can be laid flat at 180 or 360 degrees. The choice is yours! For your additional convenience, the edges are rounded to ensure your fingers are protected.
Best Undated: Nokingo Weekly & Monthly Organizer Notebook
One of the benefits of an undated planner is that you can start it at any time of the year without any wasted pages. As a result, you get a lot of flexibility.
This planner has a yearly overview with weekly sections and note pages for writing your lists and goals. There’s also tons of space for keeping your appointments, daily schedule, and to-do list. It even comes with inner pockets to store loose items, such as tickets, cards, and papers.
This product is made with thick paper to reduce ink leakage and prevent shade issues. The cover is super sturdy, so the inner pages will be protected. It’s so versatile that it can be used for any scenario from work to school or even personal use.
This story was originally published by Elizabeth Lanier on 02/01/2021 and updated with new information by Juliana Clark on 03/31/2021.