NICE goals and the 2 minute rule

I recently came across a very interesting concept called NICE goals from Ali Abdal in his new book Feel good productivity (my affiliate link), and it embodies a proven principle called the 2-minute rule. I was not able to place the 2-minute rule into a framework for goal setting until now. Let’s break NICE goals into its basic components and see why the 2-minute rule fits nicely into this framework.

Near term

N stands for near term which means something that we can schedule right away in our calendar. The 2-minute rule fits nicely into this because the 2-minute rule is often used daily to keep consistency with a particular habit.

Input based

I is for input based, focusing on things you can directly contribute as input like the amount of time you want to spend or the amount of words you want to write. I like to focus on time since time is usually the constraint. And the 2-minute rule fits nicely here


C is for controllable, we want things that are within our reach, and we don’t want to focus on variables that we can’t control for example a specific outcome. We want to focus on the process.


E is for enjoyable. The last piece is probably the most important, we need to feel good doing it, or at least we can’t feel bad otherwise it will be very difficult to achieve the goal. The 2-minute rule can help us here also since we will feel great after spending a couple of minutes on our long-term goals, and we are eager to continue the next day.

The 2-minute rule is shaping up to be this incredible hack that can quickly fix most of the issues with productivity when it comes to our long-term goals.

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