Hackers Digest #2: How to Beat Uber Surge Pricing

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Welcome to this week’s installment of The Hackers Digest, a weekly feature that organizes some of the week’s cutting-edge ideas relating to productivity in one place. In other words, we trawl the Internet to find the six best hacks and productivity stories of the week so you don’t have to.

Here’s what we found this week:

1. It’d probably be a good idea to stop changing our clocks. 

When Daylight Saving Time ends, we get an extra hour of sleep for one day. But then it gets dark super early for four months. While it’s true that technology makes it easier to absorb the time change these days—you don’t have to adjust the time on your smartphone, for example—switching the clocks back an hour throws off our internal clocks. It’s also not really good for us. According to a recent piece in Gizmodo, researchers have found that heart attack rates rise in the immediate wake of clock changes. It’s also been proven that crime rates are lower when it’s lighter outside. Since switching the clocks doesn’t serve any real purpose—and has tons of negative side effects—it’s probably time we stop doing it.

2. Learn how to survive an office meeting without going crazy. 

We’ve all been stuck in horrendously awful and unproductive meetings. The worst of us have endured these kinds of meetings frequently. The folks over at Deadspin put together a short, humorous video on the banality of what really are unnecessary meetings—and what you can do to emerge from them unscathed and still employed. Some tips: Be present, but under the radar. You can seriously just cough a couple of times to get the attention of your boss. Better yet, volunteer to record the meeting minutes. This allows you to act like you’re really engaged without having to contribute much. Watch it to learn the rest.

3. Got This Thing populates your schedule so you can blow people off. 

Ever want to get out of a meeting or a happy hour but didn’t have a good excuse? Well, as everyone and their mother says, there’s an app for that. It’s called Got This Thing and essentially it populates your Google calendar with a bunch of real nearby activities so it looks like you’re busy. Who knows? You might even find something actually want to do. (h/t Lifehacker)

4. Sick of paying Uber surge pricing? 

Those who’ve used Uber are well aware with surge pricing. While Uber’s great in getting you from Point A to Point B at a reasonable price, sometimes that surge pricing makes you want to puke. A recent piece published on BGR references a Northeastern University study that offers tips on how to beat surge pricing. Most surges are short-lived, so if you can afford to wait 10 or 20 minutes, chances are you’ll get a much more reasonable rate when you try again. Surges can also be location-specific, so you might also want to try walking a few blocks or avenues away before searching again.

5. You’ll be more productive using these 15 apps. 

Since there are so many different productivity apps, it can be difficult to actually find the ones that will enhance or optimize the way you yourself work. Some good news: Tech Insider recently put together their top 15 productivity apps for 2015. You’ve probably heard of Slack and Outlook, but have you heard of iTranslate, Wunderlist and Workflow?

6. On the importance of compliments.

Your workers are paid to do a job. But you shouldn’t take their efforts for granted. According to a recent study from the Harvard Business School, managers who compliment their employees regularly enjoy a noticeable uptick in productivity. This is not to say you should thank everyone for being “rock stars” all the time. But when your staff does a good job, show your appreciation. Not only is it the polite thing to do, but it should also pay dividends down the road as output increases. Head over to Forbes for some more analysis.

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