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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
iChoose. Unbelievably ugly, but the redeeming feature here is a Yes/No option. Way easier for me to interpret than heads or tails.
I-Ching, among many divination tools, gives a cryptic message. Read into that what you will.
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.
Pro and Con Lists. This is easier on paper, ugly in most apps, and anyway, there are inherent problems:
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?
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!
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!
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.