An Algorithmic Approach to Beating Indecision

By | August 22, 2016

I’m incredibly indecisive over the most minor of things. We’re talking about spending an hour at a supermarket debating upon bags of chips. Over the last two years I’ve avoided such paralysis with the following algorithm:

The Algorithm That Follows:

Let’s say it’s 6:38PM and you have 4 options:

  1. red bag of chips
  2. blue bag of chips
  3. green bag of chips
  4. purple bag of chips

38 mod 4 = 2. (see mod defined below)
2 + 1 = 3.
Take option 3, the green bag of chips.


My strategy uses the current minute as a source of randomness. If you’ve used that recently, consider these variations: Adding the current hour to the current minute, iteratively eliminating rather than selecting the algorithm’s decision, or using your dominant shadow as a minute-hand with a forward-facing noon and a non-ambiguous up/down vector.

Nobody will notice you doing any this. Except, maybe, the hunting for your shadow thing. I made that one up.


I can now decide upon a bag of chips in 10 seconds. Yay me!

Side-note – Definition of Mod:

mod: Arithmetic operation that computes the remainder of a division.

a mod b = remainder of a/b division.
5 mod 3 = 2
6 mod 3 = 0
7 mod 3 = 1.

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