In this post, I will teach a trading technique to help you make more, increase your enjoyment and lower stress during each trading session.
Have you ever sat there as a trader working longer, fighting harder and with worsening results? Would you like to learn a trading technique employed by our firm to solve this problem?
An experienced 7-figure trader, from another prop firm, wrote to me recently with this very issue:
Wanted to run a question by you regarding an area of my trading I’ve been struggling with lately.
Having noticed the amount of money I lose each day in subpar setups and overtrading, I’ve tried to become more selective and collect data on when I overtrade and why.
I’ve found that when I’m conscious and self-aware off the open, I have no issues. But as the day drags on, I’m less mentally aware and not as focused on “don’t trade, wait for something awesome”. A headline will come out or something quick will happen demanding a decision and in that moment with my guard down, I get into a mediocre trade. Usually I have the discipline to get out, sometimes not. But often from there my discipline falters throughout the rest of the day.
So I’m aware enough to know why I fall into poor trading and aware enough to know when I’m in a bad trade. But once I make that mistake with my guard down, it snowballs from there and it seems my discipline only gets worse rather than better. While I’m very conscious of it once I’ve lapsed in discipline, I’ve been unable to find a way to proactively prevent these lapses or the downward spiral. Checklists, rewards, rule break tallies are all retrospective and haven’t helped me prevent it.
Do you have any thoughts on how I should be trying to tackle this? Rules or telling myself to only do 3 trades per day is easy to say, but a lot harder to follow in the moment.
Thanks for any advice or thoughts and I hope all is well!
I asked this trader to give me a call. We have known each other since he was in college and before he had ever traded. He is was of the most conscientious traders I know and super-talented. If he traded at our firm, he would earn a Black Shirt, and with room to spare. Simply, he is one of the best day traders on the Street.
I wanted to know if his daily routine needed improvement so a high energy level could be sustained throughout the day. I walked through a series of questions about sleep, diet, exercise, stress, to see if there was room for improvement. There really wasn’t. His daily routine was tuned so he could sustain a high level of energy throughout the day.
Next, I asked him if he could see the solution. Can you?
I dipped into my Dr. Steenbarger bag of trading tricks and pulled out a trading technique he has helped some of our traders employ. That best practice is scheduled breaks throughout the day, so you keep your energy level high for trading.
Some traders schedule multiple breaks during the day. Most common is for traders to take a break after the open and treat the open and close as separate trading days. The break after the open is used to recharge so energy will be high for trading into the close.
Without these breaks, traders are more susceptible to make poor trading decisions. With these breaks, traders are better equipped to sustain high energy, and thus better decision-making, for their most important trades.
When I suggested scheduled breaks to this trader, he immediately saw it’s value.
Trader did not suffer from a lack of discipline. Trader needed to recharge and re-energize.
Incorporate scheduled breaks into your trading day. It will improve your trading, make the day more enjoyable, and reduce your level of stress.
*no relevant positions
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