When trading you are bound to face distractions. Learning to effectively deal with these distractions can mean the difference between a profitable day and a disastrous one. Here we will look at some common distractions, and how to deal with them so you can more effectively trade.
For many traders, trading is a part-time gig. You may even trade while at another job. If doing this without permission it will likely increase your stress levels. With increased stress levels it is tough to make objective decisions, since you will be looking for trades only when you don’t have other work to do. This creates a time constraint for finding trades, likely making you want to take trades that aren’t really that good. You also have the added stress of being caught trading and facing consequences, which could affect you financially.
The reality is most traders will need another job when they start trading, since trading isn’t going to replace your income right away (and quite possibly it never will). Therefore, allocate a set time for trading. Don’t try to squeak in a trade here and there between doing other things. When you are trading, focus on trading. This may mean trading forex at night, or setting up swing trades at night, when you are away from your other work. Even if it means trading less, being able to focus on your trading without being distracted by other work will likely improve trading performance and help you learn to trade quicker than if you aren’t focused and not really paying attention to trading.
Distractions at Home
If you trade from home like me, then you face a different set of complications. Distractions may come in the form of your kids, spouse, tv, home repairs, watching a movie, surfing the internet, constantly checking email or social sites, sleeping in, taking a nap, constantly getting food from the kitchen, and the list goes on. At home, you’re the boss so no one is forcing you to trade…which makes it very easy to blow off your trading duties. This tendency can easily become a bad habit.
Set a schedule and establish a routine for your day. Eating and email checking may happen first thing in the morning, after getting up at the exact same time every day. Then begin trading at a specific time, for standard duration. For example you may trade for two hours, give or take a few minutes based on how the market is moving. Have a planned break to get food, check email, check on the kids, etc. Your responsibilities will determine how long you can trade, and how long your breaks are.
After the break, return to trading for another set amount of time. If there are others in the house, make it clear to them that you can’t be disturbed during your trading time. Brief interruptions may at times be ok, if you aren’t about to make a trade. Yet an interruption right as you are about to place a trade (or waiting for one) can cause you to miss it. Therefore, as general rule discourage interruptions during trading time.
Also, while trading close all email and web pages not required for trading. You can check those on breaks or once you are done trading for the day.
Generally, try as best as possible to avoid distractions by others in the household by laying down some ground rules. When you are trading, focus on trading, and nothing else. Trade for a certain period of time. This is approximate because some days will present constant opportunities for hours on end, while other days will produce no good opportunities for hours. Schedule breaks. Take care of as many potential distractions as you can during these breaks.
Noises and Work Space
Whether you work from home or an office you will deal with noises. If allowed you may try to have a fan or a humidifier running by your desk to help drown out background noise. For some this may be more annoying than the background sounds. Ultimately though, if some something is distracting you, try to find a way to drown it out (when possible).
Your work space can also be a source of distraction. If drawers are filled with food, magazines or your work space is in constant clutter, it may be hard to focus on trading and opportunities may be missed. Try to keep your trading area clean and clear of unnecessary distractions.
Trading is about self-control, which often requires self-control to be exerted in other areas of life first. Trading is also about establishing rules and strategies for success. To do this effectively requires ground rules outside of trading. By exhibiting self-control and ground rules in terms of your environment, you’ll be more focused, and likely more productive, when it comes to your trading.