Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
Have you heard of the paradox of choice? Here’s a quick crash course: the more choices that are available to you, the more likely you won’t be able to make a decision. As choices increase, the chances of making the wrong choice also increase. It’s the classic “grass might be greener on the other side” dilemma and it leads to indecisiveness.
There’s a difference between “researching the proper decision” and “being indecisive”. The former leads you to a decision. The latter is a stalling tactic. If you’re like me and suffer from analysis paralysis, these apps will change your life.
Choicemap [No Longer Available]
Choicemap is a wonderful app that simplifies the decision making process in such a way that you end up making the best decision without knowing it. It’s useful for something as simple as finding a place to eat or as important as choosing a career path. It’s quite genius in retrospect.
Here’s how it works: You create a new decision. For that decision, you list all of the possible choices before you. Then, you list all of the factors that go into the decision and you weight those factors by priority. Finally, you go through each decision and rate them based on the priorities you listed.
The result is a ranking of every choice according to your own inputted priorities and ratings, which ultimately presents the “best fit choice” for that decision. It’s simple but absolutely mind-blowing in its efficacy.
Decision Buddy [No Longer Available]
Like Choicemap, Decision Buddy is a decision making app that breaks down the process into manageable little steps so you end up making a decision without actually making a decision. It comes with hundreds of preloaded decision making options so it’s faster than Choicemap but not as customizable.
The basic rundown is simple. You decide an activity (like eat, go or do), a context (dinner, anniversary, birthday), and a date. Based on those choices, you choose any number of choices from a pool of potential options. Then, you send those choices to any number of contacts on your device. Each person picks what they want in secret and then the final result is shown.
In a way it’s similar to theEpicDecide website, but I much prefer Decision Buddy.
Urbanspoon (iOS & Android, Free)
There’s one question that induces indecisiveness more often than any other question: “Where do you want to eat?” For some reason, nobody ever knows where they want to eat. If they do know, they never speak up. I can’t count the number of occasions where I’ve spent more time deciding where to eat than actually eating.
In that regard, Urbanspoon is a life saver. It works by taking your current location and suggesting places to eat in the vicinity. You can filter results by Distance, Cuisine Type, and Cost Range in case you have an idea of what you want but don’t know what’s available out there. It’s hands down one of the best apps for deciding where to eat.
Ultimate Decision Maker [No Longer Available]
Sometimes there is no right answer. No matter how hard you try, there’s no way to distinguish the validity of one choice from another. Other times, the decision is so miniscule and unimportant that it doesn’t really matter what you choose. That’s when an app like Ultimate Decision Maker comes in handy.
Think of it as an advanced Magic 8-Ball. It comes with a few different tools: a coin flipper, a random number spinner, a ticket picker, a dice roller, and a lottery-type number ball selector. Want to leave your decision up to chance, fate, or providence? This is the app for you.
Best Decision (iOS, $0.99)
Best Decision is minimal and straightforward and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. When you need to make a tough decision, all you have to do is go through Best Decision’s 5-step process:
- What’s the decision?
- What are the possible outcomes?
- What are the priorities and criteria?
- How do you feel about each outcome?
It sounds a bit like Choicemap but that’s okay. If you don’t like that one, try this one. Best Decision’s flexibility makes it a suitable tool for decisions of all kinds, both simplex and complex. You can even password protect things to maintain your privacy from other indecisive prying eyes!
What about you? Do you use apps to help you make mundane and/or difficult decisions? If so, which apps? Or do you think the whole idea is silly to begin with? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!