Take your life back from trading

When traders ask me how long it took me to become a successful trader I tell them “About 2 hours short of a divorce”. Although that is pushing it a bit it does get tense around the house for the others while you are in your learning curve. At some point we are introduced to trading. Then we read a few books, listen to some tapes, watch a DVD or 2, and join a few trading forums. Then we take a few courses only to realize this is not as easy as we thought it was going to be. Before we know it our entire life is dominated by trading. We spend all day watching the market, get to our desk early and do a few hours of premarket homework. And of course we spend every spare moment after the close pouring over chart after chart and doing more and more studying. Your life becomes obsessed with conquering this thing we call trading.

I work with traders every day and I feel for the ones that come to my room with so much knowledge of trading, most of it worthless. They talk about Market Profile, Opening Ranges, every Fib known to man, moving averages. VWAP, and the list goes on and on. Our trading methods are based on quality of trades, not quantity of trades. And our study is based on the same principles. There’s really no need to spend hours upon hours studying the markets IF you have the right information. The right information, learned in a logical format, can be learned in small study sessions of an hour max a few times per week. Of course you must see it in real time to truly understand and be able to apply the strategies. But, you don’t have to spend every waking moment focused on trading. In fact I believe the more time you put in the longer it will take you to truly become successful.

You see the more you push and want something, the more elusive it will seem. It will feel like you will never get it. When you let go and relax, and study in small spurts, you will retain more and be fresh each time you sit down and look at the charts.

I recommend to all students to print a dozen charts and carry them with them. Printed charts where you can hand annotate them when you are in a line, waiting for an appointment, etc. are worth their weight in gold. Those little study sessions pay big dividends. It’s amazing how much time we waste each day that can be put to good use. A little time management goes a long way in learning any skill or craft, and trading is no different.

Stop spending so much time with the charts. Let go of wanting to “get it” right now. Relax and become a student of observation and take good notes and set a schedule that you will spend no more than an hour per day before/after market hours. You won’t miss a thing from a trading perspective and your family will enjoy the extra time with you that they did not have with you before. You will be a better trader for taking time away from the charts and spending it with friends and family.

Good Trading……JC!