Product Review: Academic Planner – a Tool for Time Management

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2020-2021 Academic Planner

I’ve reviewed quite a few paper planners over the years, some which were designed for busy moms, with the rest being more “all purpose” planners.

A number of years ago, Leslie Josel of Order Out of Chaos created an  academic planner specifically for students, having found nothing on the market that worked for her clients or her son. By the way, Leslie has frequently participated in the Productivity & Organizing Blog Carnival, both as a sponsor and as a Star Blogger.

She recently sent me samples of her latest products, and I was excited to check them out.

First Impressions

Since I haven’t been a student or had school-aged kids for many years, my initial reactions were based on my current situation as a home-based business owner. I really like:

  • the construction, with coil binding and an outer cover made of plastic to protect the paper inside
  • the page layout, with weekly grids and full month-at-a-glance pages, each with notes sections
  • the streamlined format, achieved by not including pages of unneeded reference information, so common in paper planners
  • having a choice of size: letter (8½ x 11″) or personal (8¼ x 8½”)
  • the variety of attractive cover designs in each size, for a total of seven options. Shown above are the letter size in Red Light and the personal size in Collegiate Plum (which is the one I’d choose if I were buying one for myself).


To evaluate it as a tool for students, I had to send myself back in time a few decades. 🙂

Looking at it through those eyes, I also appreciate these features:

  • It runs from July to June, to accommodate the academic year.
  • There’s space to record your classes at the front of the planner. It lines up with the weekly grids so it’s easy to keep track of what work has to be done in each subject.
  • The schedule section includes space for after school activities, an important component of a balanced education (and a balanced life, for that matter).
  • There’s plenty of room to write details of assignments and other important information.
  • The nice thick pages let you can use a highlighter without worrying about bleed-through.
  • The contact page includes spots for your email address and cell phone number, which these days are a better way to reach someone than their home address or phone number (which there’s also room for).
  • There’s a full page to record the class schedule, including the room number and instructor’s name.
  • The contact information and class schedule are on the front page, so this information can be viewed quickly without having to leaf through pages.

Along with the planners, I received an Academic Planner Accessories Pack consisting of a heavyweight plastic pagemarker and a colorful set of laminated monthly tabs to facilitate flipping to the correct page. I can see that these would be very useful, but the third part of the pack, a sheet of colorful stickers, also makes getting organized fun!

Academic Planner Accessories Pack


Here’s how the planner and stickers might look in action:

Academic Planner interior

The Academic Planner is a great product that’s affordable even for students on a limited budget, and I highly recommend it for your clients and family members who are students.

academic planner
I recommend...

A former professional organizer, I now eliminate stress for my clients by hosting, monitoring, and maintaining their WordPress sites so they don’t have to worry about security, downtime or performance issues. When I’m away from my desk, I enjoy reading, photography, watching movies, and cooking.

Join the Conversation


  1. Avatar Seana Turner on June 24, 2020 at 11:07 am

    Love Leslie’s planner. It is so well laid out, and I love that she allocates more space than other planners for the weekends. I would even give a full space to the weekends, especially during non-COVID times, as this is when the schedule tends to be the least standard and most chaotic. I would buy this if my children were in school now!

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on June 24, 2020 at 1:01 pm

      I agree with you on that, Seana! When I still used a paper planner, I always made sure that Saturday and Sunday had as much space as weekdays.

    • Avatar Leslie Josel on June 29, 2020 at 6:48 pm

      Thank you!! You would be surprised how many adults use our small planner. We are gob smacked.

  2. Avatar Sabrina Quairoli on June 29, 2020 at 9:22 am

    I love this product from Order Out Of Chaos! We have used it for years for my kids. They are super durable and used them from middle school through college. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on June 29, 2020 at 12:46 pm

      I remember reading about it on your blog as well. It’s always great to hear from someone who has put a product to the true test.

    • Avatar Leslie Josel on June 29, 2020 at 6:49 pm

      Thank you!! ????

  3. Linda Samuels Linda Samuels on June 29, 2020 at 9:43 am

    Leslie is one of the top experts in our industry and has devoted her energy and gifts to advocate for students with ADHD. I remember when she first thought about creating a student planner and wondering if it would be of value. She knew what she was doing, as her Academic Planner has been an enormous success. I love your thorough review too, Janet.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on June 29, 2020 at 12:47 pm

      How exciting, to have been there right from the start! She really did a fabulous job.

  4. Avatar Stacey Agin Murray on June 29, 2020 at 3:23 pm

    My eyes went straight to those colorful stickers! It was a good choice to use a plastic cover–I’ve seen what happens to paper folders in a knapsack. My kids get planners from their schools at the beginning of the year but if they didn’t or didn’t find them useful, my first choice would be this one!

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on June 30, 2020 at 12:32 pm

      I’m a sucker for colored stickers. 😀

  5. Avatar Leslie josel on June 29, 2020 at 6:50 pm

    Wow!! Feeling the love all around! And yes, Linda was in the room the day I announced my idea. So encouraging! Thank you so much!!!

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