How to build a trading routine.
Just like many other occupations, trading also requires you to follow a fixed routine. For any trader, trading randomly, without a routine, is akin to gambling or throwing darts.
Trading randomly = Random unrepeatable results.
Trading routines are different for different kinds of traders. A day trader’s routine will be a lot different than a swing trader’s routine, which will be a lot different than a positional trader’s routine.
Similarly, the level of research required for each form of trading will also be different. Some forms require looking at hundreds of charts every day, while some require the same chart analysis but only on the weekend at market close..
No matter how good a trader you think you are, if you do not prepare well for each trading period, sitting on the screen for all the trading hours will also be of no use. Trading is not just about placing buy and sell orders, in fact, the orders are the simply the outcome of research that you do every period.
To be great at anything you need practice and trading is no different.
How to build a trading routine.
As stated earlier, one routine can’t be applicable to all kinds of traders.
If you are a day trader, you would want to create a routine starting from pre-market reading to post-market analysis.
● have your economic calendars ready and updated,
● have a list of securities that you would trade during the day,
● have your entry triggers and stop losses determined,
● have separate plans for early trading hours and late trading hours, and
● work towards strengthening the risk management aspect in different market conditions
As a swing trader, on the other hand, you would have a different schedule.
● review hundreds of charts everyday post markets
● create different screens to identify potential trading candidates
● read about macro and micro-events like earnings
● create and update the watchlist on a regular basis
● create alerts to put in trades when the entry conditions are met
● do post-analysis of trades to identify mistakes
● work on the risk management aspect of trading
A positional trader might have parts of the routine that will overlap with that of a swing trader and would also have some elements of qualitative research as the holding period of a positional trader is higher and so is the level of conviction required in a trade.
Apart from daily routines on trading days, traders also have weekend routines to go through their screens and trades when the markets’ tickers are silent. Spending a couple of hours on the weekend further prepares you for the upcoming week.
The importance of discipline in following the routine
Great traders are also quite disciplined in their routines
Full-time trading requires you to be at the top of your game to make a sustainable living. Most new traders are quite disciplined and are frequently on the drawing board when they hit a streak of losses, but forget about their routines when they are making money.
If you are undisciplined and lax about things when the going is good, you will ultimately end up giving back a lot of your gains, and possibly more, when the tide turns.
Like with any other business, you can’t get away with not doing the necessary chores to create a reliable source of income.
To develop this discipline, you must identify the parts of research that you will do every day without fail. If you have no clue of which parts to focus on, read about the routines of successful traders who trade your style.
Even when you have a bad start in trading and you keep on it with discipline, you will become great at some point.
The most important element which requires immense focus in trading is risk management.
All great traders blew their accounts early on because they lacked discipline in risk management.
They either refused to cut losses or traded too big on leverage that wiped their trading account off. If you inculcate a risk-first approach in trading, that will save you a lot of pain upfront.
Give it some time
There is a grind in every trader’s life before achieving success. Developing the routine will be the most essential part of the grind. You will go through a lot of unnecessary processes at first to identify the tasks that really matter.
You will develop the ability to go through hundreds of charts in an hour, which, early on, will take much more time. You will develop the Hawkeye required to identify tradable opportunities in the sea of information.
All this takes time and it’s natural for a newbie to get overwhelmed and find an easy way out. But there is no easy way out. The initial grind builds a strong trading foundation that may take a couple of years or more to build but works for a lifetime.
So, keep yourself motivated when you are burned out. There is a lot less competition at the top and too much competition in the middle. Only those who work relentlessly move up from mediocrity to greatness.
The Final Word
If you treat trading as a hobby and work accordingly, you will end up paying a lot for it, as most hobbies cost money. There are no shortcuts and you have to work hard to succeed in trading.
A good trading routine and perfect trading practice can take you places. The key is to persevere and keep working hard.
A routine takes out recklessness from trading and you get to understand that it’s a long-term game where playing great defence is much more important than playing great offense.
Great traders are a countable few and they have become great learning from other traders and from their own mistakes. The more seriously you take these lessons, the more likely they will go into your routine and become an integral part of your day-to-day thinking.
Your job is to make it easier for yourself to learn and grow to greatness in trading. If you develop the right routine, it can be much faster than you can imagine, even faster than many great traders you admire.
Having a defined strategy will be integral to your routine.
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