For When You’re Feeling Uninspired…

It’s midterm season, which in my world, is synonymous with little sleep and lots of tears. After three or four exams, it’s normal to feel drained and unmotivated, too exhausted to continue. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to pause college, and a few days of post-exam procrastination can lead to a gargantuan pile of homework. To help you avoid the vicious cycle of catch-up, here are a few gems from the Internet to re-inspire you, boost your productivity, and put you on the path to a better mood.

1. The Tim Ferriss Show


If you’re really not feeling that math homework, get up and go for a run in Forest Park—Mother Nature has blessed us with an absurdly warm autumn, and why not take advantage of the beautiful weather while you can? While you’re at it, plug in your earphones and try out the Tim Ferriss Show, an award-winning podcast run by best-selling author (see Four Hour Workweek here), entrepreneur, and public speaker Tim Ferriss. In his own words, each episode of his show is: “A deconstruction of world-class performers from eclectic areas (investing, sports, business, art, etc.) to extract the tactics, tools, and routines you can use.  This includes favorite books, morning routines, exercise habits, time-management tricks, and much more.” Some of his previous guests on the show have been Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Foxx, Peter Thiel, Sophia Amoruso, and Malcolm Gladwell, amongst others. Tim Ferriss’s podcasts are a personal favorite of mine, since it’s not only incredibly interesting to get a closer look into the lives of people like Jamie Foxx, but also inspiring (and educational) to hear about how they got to where they are. For example, Josh Waitzkin, the inspiration for the book and movie Searching for Bobby Fischer, is not only a chess prodigy, but also a Brazilian jiu-jitsu master and Tai Chi push hands world champion. How does one person master so many different areas at the level that he has? Listen to the Tim Ferriss show to find out. Bonus: maybe it’s just me, but I always feel 20x more motivated to work after I listen to one of his podcasts, so definitely a win-win in my book.

2. Read a book.

Take a break, grab a coffee from Kayak’s, and spend some time catching up on your reading. Noah’s post already covered some really excellent books for budding entrepreneurs, but I have to add one of my must-reads to the list:

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie


This book is a classic, as relevant now as it was when it was published in 1936. My mom bought me this book a few years ago in an attempt to teach me the art of negotiation (my previous life motto went something along the lines of “if you can’t win by reason, go for volume!”), and I’ve kept it on my desk ever since. Far from just being a means to self-gain, How to Win Friends and Influence People is a really great way to improve your human relationships in general. Since reading it, I think I’ve become a better friend and a slightly more likeable person in general (I hope) and hopefully you find it equally rewarding.

3. Browse the Internet (but no, not like that).

The Internet has a treasure trove of cool websites just waiting to be found. Below, some of my favorites:



For when the silence of the library becomes stifling: this website allows you to play the sounds of a coffee shop or a university café in the background as you work, creating a pleasant hum that satisfies a desire for ‘white noise’ without being distracting.  (Related: RainyMood is a similar website, except with the sounds of rain instead.)

Brain Pickings


Brain Pickings is a website run by MIT fellow Maria Popova, who writes a series of incredibly thought-provoking blog posts on a variety of cultural topics, including history, art, and current events.



Doeswhat is a compilation of short interviews with online startup founders and CEOs. Great resource for learning more about the entrepreneurial process, as told by founders themselves.



Quora is an online ask forum, where “questions are asked, answered, edited, and organized by its community of users.” While Quora does have many of the trivial posts common on all ask sites, it also has gems like this post from Justine Musk (Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s ex-wife) on how to be great, this post from Ashton Kutcher on why he decided to play Steve Jobs, and many more from the likes of Sheryl Sandberg, Sam Altman, Hillary Clinton, etc.

As exhausting and mentally draining as exams can be, allowing yourself a few hours of rest and relaxation to explore these brain-stimulating resources can reinvigorate you and provide renewed motivation. Hope you enjoy!

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