If you micro plan you are breaking down big plans and creating many smaller plans with high levels of details. Is it a good idea? Let’s look at the pros and cons.

What really is a micro plan?

You can probably already imagine the difference between macro and micro planning, so let’s look at an example:

Let’s say you want to have a goal of getting healthy.

A macro plan would be exercise regularly and eat healthy.

So now, what is a micro plan of that?

A micro plan could look like this:

  • Run 1 hour three times a week.
  • Do weight training the other 4 days – one day each for arms, legs, stomach and bum.
  • Eat 5 portions of fruit and veg per day.
  • No caffeine, alcohol or junk food – ever.

So the big question is – which plan looks better to you?

Is it a good idea?

The real answer to that question is going to be personal to you. So yes, the title is a bit of a trick question.

I cannot say for you whether you should micro plan or not, except say that in some circumstances it would probably be good, and in some circumstances it would be a bad idea.

Why do I say that?

Lots of people looking at a maze. Part of an article - do you micro plan? Should you micro plan?

We all have different preferences, and that works in planning too. Some lean towards being detailed planners and some lean towards non detailed planning.

So depending where we fall on that line, we might be affected by macro or micro planning.

For example, I am a detail oriented person, so if someone presents me with a macro plan and no micro plans I’m likely to get overwhelmed.

However, if someone who naturally prefers macro plans is presented with a long list of micro plans that would overwhelm them.

So should we just stick to what we prefer?

Well now, I will go into the pros and cons of planning this way and hopefully you will draw the same conclusion as me.

The Pros

This article highlights “This type of planning can be extremely helpful in ensuring that complex goals are achieved efficiently and effectively.”

So that’s great then right?

Yes, and that’s the thing. There are huge pros to this type of detailed planning.

  • Breaking tasks down can help when a task seems too big. If a big task seems daunting, look at it in smaller ‘micro’ chunks and you will have more motivation to get started.
  • It can lead to a more efficient process. Sometimes the ‘action’ part of our plans can be messy. Two steps forward, one step backwards. So having a more detailed approach to planning can help the action part to run a bit more smoothly.
  • It can be easier to figure out a time frame for our plan. Sometimes plans that are a bit broader can be hard to pin down into a time frame. Whereas if you have more detailed structure to your plans then it might be possible to create quite an accurate time frame.
Picture of a desk and blackboard. On the blackboard is a detailed time line. Part of an article - do you micro plan? Should you micro plan?

These pros mean that detailed planning definitely has a place.

The Cons

This article highlights “If you use a micro to-do list, you’re going to get too bogged down in the tiny details.”

So, that’s bad, right?

Well, indeed, there are some very big cons to detail planning.

  • Getting bogged down. If there are so many details sometimes we end up focusing on things that are small and not that important. This can get us stuck and forgetting the big picture.
  • We loose friends. It might be extreme, but sometimes fussing about small details can have a negative impact on relationships. We might get frustrated with those who are trying to help us. This is especially true if we work in a management role.
  • We might make the job bigger than is needed. Sometimes when we detail plan we get elaborate real fast, with all those fancy bells and whistles. But doing this might be loading ourselves with extra work that hasn’t been requested or isn’t wanted. This means we make the job bigger which means it takes longer.
A woman who has cleaning gloves on is looking at a surface under a microscope. part of an article - do you micro plan, should you micro plan?

These cons show that there are some times we really should NOT detail plan.

What’s the conclusion?

Hopefully you have been able to come to the same conclusion as me here. There are times when it is needed. Some plans require details and lots of them.

So if you are a person that tends to go for a big picture approach, maybe it would be good to consider if some details might be a good addition to your plans.

On the other hand, there are times when a lot of detailed plans can be a setback. They get in the way.

So if you are a person who likes to focus on the tiny details, it might be a good idea to consider if they are really necessary. Try to train yourself to start simple and add details later on, if you choose to.

I hope this article helped you to figure out for yourself – if you are and if you should be micro planning.

By all means connect and let me know where you stand and if you have anything else to add to this subject.