Think Like A Trader Blog

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Take a Break if You Need it and Trade Less!

Hello Traders.
A little bit of a different style post this week, but nonetheless I do think it is important.

I find this is more common amongst beginners, usually in the first couple of years after discovering trading (and I was no different!).

What happens is that you get sucked so deep into the markets and the charts that it begins to consume your life. Every spare moment you have, you are focused on trading – studying charts, on trading forums, watching videos, developing new ideas and strategies.

Now there’s nothing wrong with having a passion. In fact, it’s very healthy, and when that passion is working toward what is potentially your future career, then all the better. However, there is a dangerously thin line between passion and obsession. One is healthy and can help you to grow, and the other is damaging and holds you back.

You need space from the charts and this is all the more important as we approach the time of year when the sun begins to shine (well, it sort of moons us now and again in Scotland at least).

The problem with trading is that it is in very large part an emotional endeavour. And if you’re always at the screen, you don’t give yourself time to recharge and refresh. It becomes very easy to slip down into dark periods whereby everything seems to be going wrong, you’re stressed and you don’t know what to do so you work harder, work longer, and dedicate more hours to the charts.

The crazy part is that what you’re actually doing is making it so much worse. The passion and drive to succeed has become an all-encompassing obsession.

You don’t need to be at the charts every moment of the day. You shouldn’t be at the charts every moment of the day.

You can set yourself study timetables just like with anything else you want to learn – it can be something as simple as:

-       1 hour of study per day
-       1 hour on the charts per day

When I really started making progress was when I decided to trade less and spend fewer hours at the screen. I could actually feel the tenseness in my shoulders and the weight in my head lift over the next month or two as I began to force myself to work less. It was only then that I realised I had been really close to turning something I came to because it interested me and then I found out I loved it into something I despised and that caused me a lot of stress.

I began focusing on one market – the FTSE 100. And I set myself rules like

1)    I am only allowed to take one trade per day. For that reason, I need to wait for a quality setup and not be tricked into imperfect trades.
2)    I am not allowed to look at anything to do with trading over the weekend.

And guess what happened?

I began to improve. But better than that, I began to enjoy trading again.

Because let’s face it – what we’re doing as traders is not important. We are watching candles bob around and then trying to predict movements so we can make money. We aren’t surgeons saving lives. And so we shouldn’t be stressed and worried and in dark places. A little candle on a screen shouldn’t hold that power over you. It shouldn't control your life or your overall emotional state (especially after you shut the computer down at the end of the day!)

So step back. Work less. Go outside and enjoy the sunshine. If you feel yourself becoming stressed and unhappy when you switch on the charts, then take an extended break. As soon as one of my subscribers comes to me and says they are struggling and don’t know what to do, I tell them to walk away. Take a month off. Two if you need it. The charts will always be there.

I hope you’ve all had a great trading week… And if not... Don’t worry about it!

James Orr

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