We’ve tried spreadsheets.

We’ve tried task management apps.

We’ve tried to-do lists.

Yet my husband Amos* and I are terrible at making decisions.

I, for one, prefer to ruminate… research… discuss every option with *all* my friends (surprisingly few are left…) …and then make weighted decision matrices to take every factor into account.

Decision Making Apps - Heat Map in Excel. Based on Amy Webb's Data a Love Story
For some reason, guys don’t like you to evaluate them on a weighted matrix.

Amos, on the other hand, prefers to let things lie until the last minute, then make a decision based on what feels good or needs to get done at the time.

A match made in heaven. By some rather gleeful angels.

Analog Tools for Making Decisions

So this evening, we talked over our weekend plans: the zoo, a renaissance fair, gaming, a movie, a walk in the park, archery… stay at home and read? (my vote).

And after an hour, we still hadn’t made a decision.

Russian comic: next weekend we'll go out
This happens even in Russia! 1: Next weekend we’ll go skiing, skating, or to the theater! 2: next weekend.

So given tonight’s indecision, I suggested we make a decision about how we could make decisions in the future.

Amos rolled his eyes, while I went to find a notepad and make a list of options (hey, work from your strengths!):

  • Flip a coin? Too cliche.
  • Roll a die? It falls under the couch.
  • Draw straws? Too messy.
  • Just deciding? Too hard.
  • Throwing runes? We’re not Vikings.
  • Kazakh fortune telling? I prefer not to handle sheep shit.

…But what if straw, sacred runes, and sheep pellets aren’t handy?

That’s when we realized what we needed: more gadgets. 

Deciding on a Decision-Making App

I scoured the internet to find apps we could use to make a quick decision. I’ll review the most interesting ones below, but if you’re busy, flip to the end to see the winners, Chance and Halp

 

Either Or Choose red or blue, then let bubbles burst until one predominates. It’s beautiful, but when it stops I can’t remember if I wanted red or blue. Rejected.

Decision Making Apps - Either Or

 

Tap Roulette. If playing Eenie Meenie Miney Mo isn’t working, there’s this person-picker. Each person touches a finger to the screen, and the app selects a single winner… or loser. You could list your names in any other app, but this does have the virtue of being hands-on,

Decision Making Apps - Tap Roulette

iChoose. Unbelievably ugly, but the redeeming feature here is a Yes/No option. Way easier to interpret than heads or tails!

Decision Making Apps - iChoose

Pro and Con Lists. This is easier on paper, ugly in most apps, and anyway, there are inherent problems:

Pros and Cons justify existing decision

Decision Helper. If what you need is more pros and cons, this lets you consider the effects of your decision, how you’d feel, and what pressure you’re under. Nice… but isn’t that what a good friend, counselor, or coach is for?

Decision Making Apps - decisionhelper

Winners

You’re probably thinking by now that everything has problems.

But I found two apps which are attractive, free, and simple to use for a quick decision:

Halp (for two to four choices)

Attractive and keeps you focused with just two to four options. But as it shames you, it can’t help if you don’t act on the decision!

Decision Making Apps - Weekend Choices with Halp

Chance, a simple decision app (for five or more choices)

For more options, add as many people, places or things as you need. With decisions like “what dumpling to eat?,” you can’t go wrong!

Decision Making Apps - Dumpling Choices with Chance

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Four hours later… 

Amos: Did we ever decide what we’re doing tomorrow?

Me: That’s why I’m looking up decision apps!

Amos: That doesn’t help… 

The Best Apps for Indecision Makers

4 thoughts on “The Best Apps for Indecision Makers

  • August 5, 2017 at 5:31 am
    Permalink

    I like the name amos – it actually does fit somehow. Also i was reading through all the 2 choice apps at the top confused how that would help if you both hadn’t decided on one activity before using them…then was more convinced by your final choices haha. Also if you need another time sink Mark needs help finding the perfect app for data taking. Call for more info 🙂

    Reply
    • August 7, 2017 at 9:42 am
      Permalink

      Just have him call me! We did use one successfully, but it still took a while for us to make a decision 😀

      Reply
  • August 5, 2017 at 8:00 am
    Permalink

    You left out two other options:
    1. Call your mother (or other strongly opinionated friend), ask them what to do, then either follow the advice (making them feel powerful) or do the opposite (causing eye rolls). Possible risk: they spend a long time listing pros and cons then tell you to talk to your father (or a different friend).

    2. Buy a See N Say. Ignore that it claims to be a toy. It is a great decision making tool. Really! Write choice options onto slips of paper and tape them to the face of the toy, er…app. Pull the string and the arrow will point to the answer. Bonus: if you buy the farmer version, it will make animal sounds to add humor to your decision making process. Warning: pulling the string over and over to hear more sounds delays choice making.

    Reply
  • August 7, 2017 at 9:41 am
    Permalink

    See N Say could be fun for a lot of reasons 😀

    Reply

Leave a Reply