Nine efficiency hacks for second semester

Get organized with these ideas to improve your money, productivity, and health.

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First semester flies by: Between learning how to live with a new roommate or in a new dorm, juggling classes, and having a social life, it may be time for winter break before you’ve even established a solid study routine.

But now that you’re heading into second semester, you know what works and what doesn’t. At this point, it’s simply a matter of improving. Here are nine organization hacks to help you thrive throughout the rest of the year.

Productivity

Try the pomodoro technique. The pomodoro technique is a time management hack where you work in 25-minute sprints. When the 25 minutes are up, you take a break for five minutes. Studies say that we are more concerned with our present selves than our future selves. That means we’re more concerned with deadlines that are in the very near future — like studying for 25 minutes as opposed to taking the test in three days.

Batch similar tasks. Simply put: Do like tasks together. For example, if you have two papers to write and a test to study for, you would allocate time to write both papers and then set a separate time to study. Essentially, batching helps you avoid multitasking, which can hurt your productivity.

Exercise regularly. It’s no secret that exercise is important to maintain your health. But did you know that exercising can also increase productivity? Research shows that exercise leads to immediate benefits that affect cognitive abilities, like memorization.

Finances

Get smart about paying your friends back. Splitting a dinner bill? There’s no need to sign up for new apps to transfer money to your friends: With Zelle®, you can send and request money from your Wells Fargo Mobile® app (and it’s now a part of many other bank apps, too!).

Try the envelope system. The envelope system is a budgeting method where you literally put cash into envelopes, and you can only use that cash for the week (or another pre-determined amount of time). Once the cash is gone, you can’t spend anything more. The idea is to set a strict budget, so you avoid getting into debt — studies show that people who use cash actually spend less money than those who rely on credit.

Use technology to help you save money. 57 million Americans don’t have savings for emergencies. Use an app to help you start growing your savings account and hit financial goals.

Health

Track your health. The same way you can use apps to track your finances, you can also use them to track your health. What gets measured gets improved, so make sure you track how often you’re exercising and what you’re eating with apps like those on My Fitness Pal, Couch to 5k for running, or Pact to keep you motivated (you can earn cash rewards for hitting health goals).

Take naps. Between late night cram sessions and an active social life, you may find yourself naturally taking lots of naps. Fortunately for you, this is actually a good thing. Another hack is to take naps right after studying. Research has shown that sleeping actually helps improve memory.

Start a meditation practice. Meditation has a slew of health benefits that help with everything from decreased anxiety to better focus. You can use smartphone apps such as Calm to start your practice — it even has an entire series on meditations specifically for college students.

Streamline how you pay back your friends with Zelle®.