If your day isn't spent making decisions, then your day isn't full of action and getting things done. But have you ever stopped and wondered about your decision-making process? Is it flawless, or is it not as objective or rational as you may believe?

When you make decisions based on unconscious errors instead of facts and data, you are letting biases affect your perspective, relationships, and work. Here are some of the most powerful cognitive biases negatively impacting your productivity right now:

Bandwagon effect.  

Groupthink can be powerfully dangerous for any organization. In business meetings, many thoughts and opinions are expressed. But if you find it all too common that you, your team, or your employees adopt ideas just because everyone else supports them, the results may not be the best ones. Encourage your coworkers and employees to challenge your ideas and one another's ideas, and support and praise them when they do. Only the best ideas should survive.

Self-serving bias.

You spend a lot of time working hard, so naturally you claim full ownership of your successes. But when it comes to failures, you shun responsibility or blame. If this sounds like you, the self-serving bias may be manifesting in your life. At work, when you receive important feedback about where you can improve, this bias can prevent you from correcting your mistakes and making improvements. After all, if you deny that you've made any mistakes, it's hard to rectify them.

Planning fallacy.

This bias is the tendency to underestimate how long it will take to finish tasks, and instead of taking responsibility for your scheduling errors, blaming external factors like late start dates or lazy workers. If you are someone who maps out project timelines and does not account for the extra time that may be needed to complete them, watch out for this bias. It can delay your other projects and interrupt remaining planned tasks.

Confirmation bias.  

Who doesn't love being right? However, if you let this love get in the way of actual facts, you may be operating under a mindset that hurts your daily decision making. When you ignore opinions or facts that disagree with your own, you are utilizing confirmation bias -- the tendency to trust information that confirms your preconceptions. This will of course cloud the decisions you make, leading to negative outcomes.

No one is without bias, so it is best to work on giving them less power rather than eliminating them outright. The key? Practice honest reflection and self-criticism. Through awareness, you can get on the right track towards a more objective and rational decision-making process, and increased productivity.

Published on: Jun 21, 2018
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.