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36 Free Killer Apps You Shouldn’t Live Without

36 Free Killer Apps You Shouldn’t Live Without

I consider myself an app nomad; I’m constantly exploring apps and installing and uninstalling them as needed until I find ones that will really help me make the most of my phone and days. Here’s a cream of the crop list of apps I’ve scavenged and compiled (by category) to help you seize the day using your device.

Communication & Social

1. Wickr

wickr-Free-messaging-apps-android-ios

    For users who pay extra attention to information security, Wickr allows you to send and receive top-secret messages, pictures, videos, audio clips, and files. With the ability to permanently erase deleted files from your phone and set expiration dates for your messages and media, while still offering a fun and user-friendly texting app, Wickr allows you to take control of your privacy.

    Platform(s): Android, iOS

    2. Rundavoo

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      Rundavoo is an online and mobile group scheduling app for social outings with friends. With Rundavoo you’ll be able to spend less time planning and more time enjoying your friends. Whether you’re a planner or not, Rundavoo helps you get your friends together for that spontaneous dinner or a much needed planned event.

      Platform(s): Android, iOS

      3. Google Hangouts

      hangouts11

        Hangouts is a messaging app that lets you send and receive messages, photos and more, and even start free video and voice calls – one to one or with a group.  Hangouts allows you to keep in touch with friends across Android, iOS, and the web, and it will sync chats across all your devices. The app is easy on the eyes, and one feature I particularly like enjoy is that all calls to other Hangouts users are free!

        Platform(s): Android, iOS

        4. Textra

        androidpit-textra-sms

          Textra is simply an elegant way to text. With a boatload of features, including pop-up notifications, floating notifications, and a ton of customization options, Textra has long since replaced any other text messaging app on my Android. It’ll help save you time when communicating with your friends and family and will allow you to focus your attention on the important messages you receive.

          Platform(s): Android

          5. LinkedIn

          linkedin-android-app-1024x853

            LinkedIn’s professional social networking app makes it easier to build your personal brand, make connections, stay informed with personalized news, and more — right in your feed. With some customization features and the ability to invite connections with a few taps of your screen, you’re right on your way to building a stronger professional network. One thing about this app which can get a little frustrating is the fact that when you use the search bar to find a person, his/her profile often disappears a second or two after being retrieved in the search results.

            Platform(s): Android, iOS

            Productivity

            6. CamScanner

            camscanner-1

              CamScanner will quickly replace your home scanner and will often be a quicker and more accessible alternative to your office scanner. With a no-nonsense interface, sharing and collaboration capabilities and text recognition and search abilities, CamScanner will most definitely become one of your daily go-to apps.

              Platform(s): Android, iOS

              7. Dropbox

              nexusae0_Screenshot_2012-12-05-12-13-25

                Arguably the world’s most popular cloud storage provider, Dropbox is a free online syncing service that lets you bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and allows you to share them easily. With easy-to-use apps available for both Android and Apple fans, use Dropbox to save time and avoid ever having to email yourself a file again!

                Platform(s): Android, iOS

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                8. Gmail

                Screenshot_2014-11-02-11-39-41

                  Google’s recently updated Gmail app allows for an intuitive, efficient, and useful interface. Get your email instantly via push notifications, read and respond to your conversations online & offline, and search and find any email. Use it to manage multiple accounts (even the non-Gmail ones), view and save attachments, and set up label notifications. The app’s Android widget allows you to see a list of your recent emails and create a new message with a single tap.

                  Platform(s): Android, iOS

                  9. AirDroid

                  airdroid

                    AirDroid allows you to access and manage your Android phone or tablet from Windows, Mac, or the web, wirelessly, for free. Even when your phone isn’t around you, or you’ve got too much going on to handle, you can take control of your texting, file transfers, notifications, and even your phone’s camera! One drawback to AirDroid is that you can’t send messages to your contacts via third party apps such as Whatsapp.

                    Platform(s): Android

                    10. Google Keep

                    yaabot_noteapps_7

                      Google Keep allows you to create lists, text and voice memos in an aesthetic and organized manner. If you want an app to sync with the rest of your Google products while being able to share your documents and collaborate with others with ease, Keep is for you.

                      Platform(s): Android

                      11. SolCalendar

                      Snip20141221_3

                        This visually-engaging, powerful piece of app will help you live a passionate life, by providing effective time and task management tools. SolCalendar really is the full package, with a range of customizable widgets, an intuitive interface, and an awesome to-do function which will help you stay on top of life.

                        Platform(s): Android

                        News & Reading

                        12. Pocket

                        essapps_news_pocket2-11374669

                          Pocket is an app I use on a daily basis. Use it to easily save articles, videos, and other web content for later viewing. With Pocket, all your items go to one place, so you can view, organize and share them anytime, on any device, even offline. It’s super easy to use and provides a number of reading options when it comes down to accessing your content.

                          Platform(s): Android, iOS

                          13. LinkedIn Pulse

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                            As a LinkedIn fanatic, Pulse has quickly become my number one news reading app. You’ll get the knowledge most relevant to you in a bite-sized and beautiful interface. Get news from the world’s most trusted sources and leaders and follow new sources that are meaningful to you – all with a few taps of your screen.

                            Platform(s): Android, iOS

                            14. Salon.com

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                              Salon.com’s app offers fresh insight into the most important and interesting news of the day, with topics ranging from politics and entertainment to business and technology. The app allows you to share content-rich articles with images and video on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or by email.

                              Platform(s): Android, iOS

                              15. RT News English

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                                RT is a 24/7 English-language news channel. The channel and app’s coverage focuses on international headlines, giving an innovative angle set to challenge viewers worldwide. What I particularly like about this app is the level of insight and analysis they provide, which is typically left out by more mainstream media channels. With easy article sharing abilities and live streaming, the RT app will help keep you updated on what’s really going on around the world.

                                Platform(s): Android, iOS

                                16. Nuzzel

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                                  Nuzzel is a super-easy way to see news from your friends. Discover the top news stories shared by your friends on Facebook and Twitter, without being overwhelmed or missing anything. This app is very user-friendly and even shows your top stories in your iPhone’s Notification Center.

                                  Platform(s): iOS

                                  Health & Fitness

                                  17. Strava

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                                    Strava is my go-to running and cycling app. It allows you to track your runs and rides with GPS, join Challenges and see how your running and riding compares with friends. If you’re serious about fitness and tracking your results and progress, or you’d like to get serious, this is the app to help you get there. It’s extremely accurate in terms of mapping routes and capturing results and allows you to explore new paths and routes around you.

                                    Platform(s): Android, iOS

                                    18. MyFitnessPal

                                    MyFitnessPal

                                      If you’re looking to improve your diet and get serious about your lifestyle, you’re looking at the right app. With a seemingly endless database of items (4,000,000+), MyFitnessPal’s awesome calorie counting app allows for maximum accuracy when you’re trying to achieve your lifestyle changes. Phone not in range? No problem. You can also enter your meals online, with automatic syncing between your pc/laptop and your mobile device. With amazingly fast food and exercise entry, you’ve got a new weapon in the war against your love handles! The only thing I’d wish they include is alternative/healthier food suggestions to help you reach your goals faster.

                                      Platform(s): Android, iOS

                                      19. Cookpad Recipes

                                      cookpad-1

                                        Cookpad is an unique cooking community app where people post recipes and pictures. It’s your personal recipe composer. After cooking your recipe, other people can post the photo of their own attempt of making the recipe and others can comment. This app has tons of cool features, from a shopping list, to a meal planner and even a forum. Cookpad will help you spend less time thinking about what to cook and will give you the motivation to get straight to cooking.

                                        Platform(s): Android, iOS

                                        20. Fooducate

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                                          Fooducate is a great alternative to MyFitnessPal. It helps you achieve healthy weight loss, while being able to track your progress and discuss with the community. What really differentiates this app from MyFitnessPal and other healthy-eating apps is that Fooducate goes beyond simply counting the calories in your food items and suggests healthier alternatives to help you reach your weight goals. However, unlike MyFitnessPal, Fooducate only allows you to track food activity; there is currently no way to track your exercise/fitness routines.

                                          Platform(s): iOS

                                          21. My Diet Coach

                                          MyDietCoach

                                            My Diet Coach will motivate you, help keep you on track, resist food cravings, emotional eating, exercise laziness and other obstacles. How so? It provides motivational arguments, guidelines, tracking challenges, getting virtual rewards for your achievements, helpful reminders and notifications with your goal and your motivational photos. One con about this app — it’s currently only available for women. There’s also no word on if there will be an app released for guys anytime in the near future.

                                            Platform(s): Android, iOS

                                            Money & Budgeting

                                            22. Wally

                                            wally07

                                              Wally is a personal finance app that helps you take control of your money. With an intuitive user-friendly design, Wally helps you understand where you money is going, set and stick to budgets, balance your income and expenses, and achieve your financial goals. You can also save receipts with each transaction, export data to Excel, and backup your data with iCloud.

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                                              Platform(s): iOS

                                              23. Mint.com

                                              mint-com-android-apps-screenshot-970x546

                                                Mint pulls in all your personal finance accounts and investments into one place, so you can track your spending, create a budget, receive bill reminders, and save money. What’s really great about Mint is that you can set up all your bank accounts in just a minutes. One drawback to this app is that it can sometimes be tedious to add a personal bank account or credit card to your profile; the account verification can be a huge turn off.

                                                Platform(s): Android, iOS

                                                24. Financius

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                                                  Financius is a simple application that helps you log and track your expenses and keep an eye on your balance. What I particular like about Financius over other finance apps, such as Mint, is its simplicity and the fact that it’s very easy on the eyes. This app is sure to help you better manage your finances! The one slight drawback about Financius is that all of your accounts and balances must be manually input; there is currently no feature which allows you to link your personal bank and credit card accounts to the app.

                                                  Platform(s): Android

                                                  25. Goodbudget

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                                                    Goodbudget is a money manager for budget planning and personal finance management. It has a unique “envelopes” feature, which allows you to allocate money for different people and purposes in your household. Use this app if you’re looking to keep an eye on your kids and other family members.

                                                    Platform(s): Android, iOS

                                                    Shopping & Saving

                                                    26. The Hunt

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                                                      The Hunt app will keep you from ever wondering where someone got that amazing outfit from again! Post a pic of what you’re looking for, and the community of over three million savvy shoppers will help you find it, style it, or buy it for less. As a member of community, you can return the favour and help others with your own style expertise. Trade fashion tips, get advice, and discover new places to shop.

                                                      Platform(s): Android, iOS

                                                      27. Flipp

                                                      WISHABI - Flipp app now gives Android users all their favorite

                                                        Say goodbye to flyers! Flipp delivers your favorite circulars and Weekly Ads to your fingertips. With Flipp, you can easily search for the items you need, quickly create a handy shopping list and price match in a flash at the checkout. This has become a staple app which I use for every grocery trip.

                                                        Platform(s): Android, iOS

                                                        28. Etsy

                                                        etsy

                                                          The Etsy app is the official mobile app for Etsy.com — home to the world’s small businesses and a great alternative to Amazon. Etsy will help you discover over 17 million unique items from 800,000 sellers around the world, while allowing you to shop and manage your orders with ease.

                                                          Platform(s): Android

                                                          29. LivingSocial

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                                                            LivingSocial will help you save up to 80% on great local restaurants, relaxing spas, unique products, and exotic vacations. Use the LivingSocial app for Android and iPhone to help you discover and share the best things to see and do in your city. Although this app is quite good, there are also many alternative apps which can be used, such as Groupon, Dealfind, etc.; it’s all a matter of tastes and preferences.

                                                            Platform(s): Android, iOS

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                                                            Other Goodies

                                                            30. How to Tie a Tie

                                                            How-to-tie-a-tie-App

                                                              Never ask your coworker, friend, or dad to help you tie your tie ever again. With a seemingly endless list of knots (20, to be exact) and accompanying instructions, pictures, and videos, become a tie-tying pro for any occasion you’re challenged with.

                                                              Platform(s): Android, iOS

                                                              31. Waze

                                                              Les-multiples-services-de-Waze

                                                                Waze is the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app. Join drivers in your area who share real-time traffic and road info to save time, gas money, and improve daily commuting for all. You can also actively report accidents, police traps, and other hazards you see on the road. Get road alerts along your route and find the cheapest gas prices around you shared by the community. Plus, you can add friends, send locations, or keep others posted on your arrival time. One thing which really frustrated me about the app when I tried using it was that it was impossible for me to add my home and work addresses to the app though I’m not sure if this is a general issue other uses are experiencing, or if it was just my device.

                                                                Platform(s): Android, iOS

                                                                32. Easy Taxi

                                                                easy-taxi-singapore

                                                                  Never will you have to wave down a taxi again! Easy Taxi allows you to easily book a taxi and track it in real time, with just a tap of a button. All you have to do is wait for the app to automatically locate your address using GPS, confirm your location, and tap “Request taxi.” Then, stand aside and watch how Easy Taxi assigns a nearby driver.

                                                                  Platform(s): Android, iOS

                                                                  33. Duolingo

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                                                                    Duolingo will help you learn some of the world’s most popular languages, including: Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, Irish, Danish, Swedish, and English in a fun and free way. Speaking from experience, the Duolingo app can be used as a standalone method of learning a language, or alongside the excellent website for extra notes and immersion features. I really wish there were more languages offered, such as Arabic, Hindi or Mandarin, and there is definitely room here for development.

                                                                    Platform(s): Android, iOS

                                                                    34. TED

                                                                    ted-android-app

                                                                      TED’s official app presents talks from some of the world’s most fascinating people: education radicals, tech geniuses, medical mavericks, business gurus, and music legends. Find more than 1,700 TEDTalk videos and audios (with more added weekly) on the official TED app. What’s awesome about the TED app is not only is it incredibly easy to use, it’ll help you learn a ton of stuff in over 22 languages!

                                                                      Platform(s): Android, iOS

                                                                      35. BestParking – Find Parking

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                                                                        BestParking steers drivers toward the cheapest and most convenient parking garages and lots in 105 cities and 115 airports throughout North America. Use this app to help save yourself money, as well as the frustration which comes from crazily looking around for a parking spot during your commute.

                                                                        Platform(s): Android, iOS

                                                                        36. Carrr Matey

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                                                                          Never lose your car in a parking lot or a busy street again! Carrr Matey guides you back using a compass or walking directions. Its’s perfect for airports, stadiums, shopping malls, etc. Plus, use the timer to park at meters worry-free. My favourite feature about this app is that it does all of this in a pirate theme!

                                                                          Platform(s): Android

                                                                          Featured photo credit: young girl working with tablet in the street via shutterstock.com

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                                                                          1 How to Set Stretch Goals and Keep Your Team Motivated 2 How Self Care Can Help You Live Your Best Life 3 How to Develop Mental Toughness to Help You Stay Strong 4 How to Calm Down When You’re Stressed and Anxious 5 How to Reinvent Yourself And Redefine Your Future

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                                                                          Last Updated on April 23, 2019

                                                                          How to Set Stretch Goals and Keep Your Team Motivated

                                                                          How to Set Stretch Goals and Keep Your Team Motivated

                                                                          Stretch goals are a lot like physical fitness. When you adopt a physical sport such as running, continual practice leads to increased stamina, growth and progress.

                                                                          While commitment to the sport improves performance, true growth happens when you are stretched beyond your comfort zone. I know this from personal experience.

                                                                          For years, I was an avid runner. I ran with a variety of running groups in the Washington, D.C., area and in Columbus, Ohio, where I lived prior to moving to the nation’s capital in 2011.

                                                                          While I was initially fearful about slacking off on my exercise habit when I moved to D.C., running enthusiasts in the area provided continual motivation, inspiring me to lace up my shoes day after day. Much to my surprise, many of the area’s running stores (including Pacers and Potomac River Running) boasted running groups that met in the mornings and evenings. So, it was relatively easy for a newcomer like me to connect with like-minded peers.

                                                                          I was never a particularly fast runner, but I enjoyed the afterglow of the sport: being completely drained but feeling a sense of accomplishment; setting and reaching goals; buying and wearing out new tennis shoes. The sound of throngs of feet pounding the pavement in semi-unison is still enough to bring tears to my eyes. Yes, I sometimes tear up at the start of races.

                                                                          Of all the groups I ran with, the Pacers Store group that met on Monday nights in Logan Circle boasted the fastest runners. I met up with the group week after week only to be the slowest runner. It was difficult to muster the courage to get up every week and meet the group knowing what was waiting for me: sweating and watching the backs of fellow runners.

                                                                          Each time I joined the group, I was stretching myself without even realizing it. Instead of feeling like I was transitioning into a better running, for a long time I felt I was torturing myself.

                                                                          Then something remarkable happened. I went for a run with a different set of runners and noticed my time had improved. I was running at a faster pace and doing so with ease. What was once uncomfortable for me I now handled with ease.

                                                                          The reason I was becoming a better runner was because I was taking myself out of my comfort zone and challenging myself physically and mentally. This example illustrates the process of growth.

                                                                          Fortunately, we can create situations that stretch us in our personal and professional lives.

                                                                          What Is a Stretch Goal?

                                                                          A stretch goal – as authors Sim B. Sitkin, C. Chet Miller and Kelly E. See detail an article “The Stretch Goal Paradox” in Harvard Business Review[1] – is something that is extremely difficult and novel. It is something that not everyone does, and it’s sometimes considered impossible.

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                                                                          In general, you establish stretch goals by doing things that are difficult or temporarily challenging.

                                                                          For instance, when I was first promoted to a senior communications management role, I knew I needed to beef up my relationships with media personalities. I set a goal to once a month book a day of media interviews in New York City – which is home to many media outlets, including SiriusXM radio, CNN, NBC News, HuffPost, VIBE.

                                                                          This was a huge goal because it meant not only identifying the right people to meet with but convincing them to meet with me and my team. While I didn’t end up meeting the goal of doing a full day of media interviews in New York City, I met more people than I would have met had I not established the goal and instead stayed in the comfort of my D.C. office.

                                                                          It is important to note that just because you establish a stretch goal doesn’t mean you’ll achieve the goal each time. However, the process of trying is guaranteed to provide some level of growth.

                                                                          The Importance of Creating Stretch Goals

                                                                          The beginning of the year is a perfect time to assess where you are excelling and where there is room for you to grow. I typically start the year by creating a yearlong strategic plan for myself.

                                                                          I think about the things that are necessary to do and things that would be cool to do. I assess the people I should know and think through how to meet them. Then I ask myself if the goals are realistic and what would need to happen for me to achieve them.

                                                                          Over time, I have learned that there are five things I can do to set stretch goals:

                                                                          1. Get Outside of Your Head

                                                                          If I exist within the confines of my imagination, I imperil my own growth and creativity.

                                                                          If I examine my accomplishments and celebrate them in isolation of others’ accomplishments, my vantage point is limited.

                                                                          I want to be comfortable with what I accomplish, but I also want to be motivated by watching others. In some respects, stretching is about expanding your network of friends, associates and mentors. These are the people who will propel or slow your growth and development.

                                                                          Since two are better than one, I always value being able to share my progress with others, seek feedback and then map a plan for success.

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                                                                          2. Focus on a Couple Areas at a Time

                                                                          When setting goals, it is important to focus on a couple of areas at a time. Most of us are only able to focus on a few things at a time, and if you feel you are unable to tackle all that is before you, you may simply disengage.

                                                                          I see this in so many areas of life:

                                                                          When people get in debt, if they believe the debt is insurmountable, they refuse to look at incoming bills for fear of facing down the debt. Unfortunately, many businesses go awry when setting stretch goals.

                                                                          In “The Stretch Goal Paradox,” Sitkin, Miller and See note:

                                                                          “Our research suggests that though the use of stretch goals is quite common, successful use is not. And many executives set far too many stretch goals. In the past five years, for example, Tesla failed to meet more than 20 of founder Elon Musk’s ambitious projections and missed half of them by nearly a year, according to the Wall Street Journal.”

                                                                          Goal-setting is like a marathon, not a sprint. It doesn’t all need to happen at the same time, and pacing is extremely important if you want to get to the finish line. It is better to focus on a couple goals at a time, master them and then move on to the next thing.

                                                                          3. Set Aside Time Each Year to Focus on Goal-Setting

                                                                          When I was a managing director for communications for the Advancement Project, I spent the first part of every year facilitating a communications planning meeting.

                                                                          The planning meeting began with the team members assessing the goals the team had established in the preceding year, and whether those goals were realistic or not. If we failed to meet certain goals, we broke down why that happened. From there, we brainstormed about possibilities for the current year.

                                                                          For instance, one year we set a goal of pitching and getting 24 opinion essays published. This was audacious because no one on the eight-person team had the luxury of focusing exclusively on editing and pitching opinion essays to publications around the world. We would need to focus on pitching in between the rest of our work.

                                                                          We hit this goal within the first eight months of the year. Remarkably, in total, we ended up getting 40 opinion essays published that year, which was an indication that our original goal was too low. We upped the goal to 41 the next year, and amazingly, we hit 42 published opinion essays or guest columns.

                                                                          From this experience, we not only learned what was feasible, we also learned the power of focus.

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                                                                          When we focused as a team on getting the commentary on our issues out in the public domain, we were successful. The key in all of this is that there was a ton of discussion around which goal we’d pursue and why.

                                                                          Equally important, as a manager, I didn’t set the goals alone; the team members and I established the goals collaboratively. This ensured buy-in from each individual.

                                                                          4. Use the S.M.A.R.T. Goal Model to Set Realistic Goals

                                                                          S.M.A.R.T.

                                                                          is a synonym for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. For the sake of this article, the realistic portion of the acronym is most important.

                                                                          While you want to set audacious goals, you want to ensure that they are realistic as well. No one is served by setting a goal that is impossible to accomplish.

                                                                          Failing to meet goals can be demoralizing for teams, so it’s important to be sober-eyed about what is possible. Additionally, the purpose of setting goals is to advance and grow, not depress morale.

                                                                          For instance, my team would have been discouraged had I begun the year asking it to pitch and place 40 opinion essays if we didn’t already have a track record of placing close to two dozen essays.

                                                                          By using the S.M.A.R.T. formula, we were able to achieve all that we set out to do.

                                                                          5. Break the Goal up into Small Digestible Parts

                                                                          I am a recovering perfectionist. As a writer, being a perfectionist can be counterproductive because I can fail to start if I don’t see a clear pathway to victory.

                                                                          The same is true with goal-setting. That’s why I join Lifehack’s fellow contributor Deb Knobelman, Ph.D., in noting that it is critically important to break goals into bite-sized chunks.

                                                                          When I had a goal of doing daylong media meetings in New York City, I had to think through all the barriers to achieving that goal and all the steps required to meet the goal.

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                                                                          One step was identifying which reporters, producers and hosts to engage. Another step was writing a pitch or meeting invitation that would capture their attention. Another step was thinking through the program areas I wanted to highlight and the new angles I could offer to different reporters.

                                                                          Since reporters want to cover stories that no one else has written, I needed to come up with fresh angles for each of the reporters I was engaging. An additional step was thinking through who from my team I’d take with me to the various meetings.

                                                                          I was clear that, as a talking head, as public relations reps are sometimes called, I needed the right spokesperson in order to land repeated meetings with different outlets.

                                                                          A final step was thinking through what I needed to bring to each meeting and which reports, videos and testimonials would buttress our claims and be of interest to media figures.

                                                                          As I walked through what was needed to bring my goal of doing daylong meetings to reality, I realized that not only was the idea within reach, but I was excited to tackle the challenge.

                                                                          From that point until now, I have learned to break down goals into smaller parts and tackle the smaller parts on the path to knocking the goal out of the park.

                                                                          The Bottom Line

                                                                          These are my recommendations for setting stretch goals, and there are a ton of other resources to support you in the workplace and in your community.

                                                                          For instance, LinkedIn’s Lynda.com platform has a wonderful suite of leadership development videos, including ones on establishing stretch goals. This is a paid resource but may be worth the investment if you lead a team or want to invest in tools for your own growth and development.

                                                                          Featured photo credit: Avatar of user Isaac Smith Isaac Smith @isaacmsmith Isaac Smith via unsplash.com

                                                                          Reference

                                                                          [1] Harvard Business Review: The Stretch Goal Paradox

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