Indecisive? The Best Apps for Indecision Makers

Decision Making Apps - Dumpling Choices with Chance (detail)

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.

~~~

But we’re in this together. Before we even started dating, we were asked to plan a social event. After careful consideration, we created a “Planning Non-Planning” Facebook group, and invited all our friends to join…

…and successfully planned nothing.

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

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? Meh, okay.
  • Roll a die? Meh, okay.
  • 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 gadgetry. 

Deciding on a Decision-Making App

I scoured the internet (okay, free iPhone / iOS apps) to find apps we could use to make a quick decision.

(I know, you’re thinking we could have just decided on something. But that doesn’t work. Bear with me.)

I’ll list some interesting options, but if you’re super busy, click right through to Chance and Halp

 

Either Or. Choose either red or blue, then let soft bubbles alight on your screen until one predominates. It’s lovely, but after the animation is done, I can’t recall if I wanted red or blue. Rejected.

Decision Making Apps - Either Or

 

Tap Roulette. If it’s no longer working for you to avoid eye contact in meetings, shout Not it! or Shotgun!, or play Eenie Meenie Miney Mo, there’s this person-picker. Each person touches a finger to the screen, and the app selects a single winner… or loser. Of course you could list your names in any other app, but this is more… participatory and hands-on.

Decision Making Apps - Tap Roulette

 

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

Decision Making Apps - iChoose

 

I-Ching, among many divination tools, gives a cryptic message. Read into that what you will.

Decision Making Apps - I-Ching

 

RandomBibleVerses. If Chinese divination isn’t working for you, pick a Bible verse at random. I see this as a solid affirmation of my desire to build a golden house.

Decision Making Apps - RandomBibleVerses

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, life coach, or spiritual director is for?

Decision Making Apps - decisionhelper

Winners

You’re probably thinking by now that everything has problems. Yes, yes they do.

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

Halp (for two to four choices)

Lovely, and keeps you focused with just two to four options. Yet as it reminds you, it can’t help if you don’t choose to act on its 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 to Chance.

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… 

*I needed a blogging name for my partner. I’ve decided to call him Amos, after his great-great grandfather. 

4 Comments

  1. 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 🙂

  2. 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.

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

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