By Rob Colville on July 8, 2016 in
For many of us, a hectic lifestyle where we tend to be pulled in many different directions feels a lot like the “new normal.” Given our work obligations alone, plus the responsibility of being a parent and/or caring for loved ones, and also tending to our homes and properties makes for full days from the start. Now add to that elective activities like trading, working on our own self-improvement, and maintaining a healthy social calendar, and it becomes all the more difficult for part-time traders to find proper balance between say, trading and work, or between trading and life. Maybe this is even something you tend to struggle with yourself?
For busy traders on the go, part-time trading can still be a fun a fulfilling activity, or even a sort of “hobby.” The “trick,” shall we say, is to simplify your trading activities to in turn create more balance and simplicity in your life. Here are six (6) ways to do precisely that, and ideas for ensuring favourable balance between trading and life.
Professional traders will tell you that so much of active trading is sitting idle and waiting for qualifying set-ups to be presented by the markets. So what is it that many retail traders are doing when they spend hours or entire days glued to their screens? For too many, it’s improvising as they go, rather than following a rigid set of rules that govern the set-ups they take and how they’ll ultimately trade them.
Make sure that your strategy is clearly written and defined, and that you trade in accordance with it at all times. Upon closer review, you may find that you’re spending an inordinate amount of your time analyzing or even taking trades that aren’t consistent with your strategy. And if that’s the case, then eliminating those should become priority #1, for it can make all the difference in giving you back the kind of balance between trading and life that you’ve been coveting.
Think about this for a moment, if you will: Is there anything good that can happen as a result of watching a trade intently on your screens as it runs? Even if the trade is winning, you might be tempted to exit too soon or book partial profits at an improper juncture. And if it’s losing, well, you might move your stop to give it more room to turn around, or even worse, add to a losing position to double down in case it does.
With proper risk controls in place, though, including a hard stop-loss placed in the market at a prudent location, and with acceptable risk and position size mandated as a condition of trading, there is no need to watch a trade in progress…ever! So ensure proper risk controls from the start, and once you execute a trade, simply “Set it and forget it” to give yourself back all that valuable time you might have spent staring at the screens and battling temptation, trepidation, hope, and fear. That’s time you can better spend with family and loved ones, catching up on some leisurely reading of your own, or enjoying more balance between trading and life any way you happen to choose.
Intraday traders move rapidly in and out of the markets, sometimes keeping positions for only a matter of minutes, and as a result, can rarely, if ever, afford to step away. But for longer-term swing traders operating on, say, the daily chart and higher, price action is much slower to develop, which should afford plenty of opportunity to “set and forget,” as we spoke about before. More reaction time and better balance between trading and life are only a couple of the key benefits of longer-term trading. For part-time traders and those most intent upon ensuring plenty of balance between trading and life, we’d recommend going as high as the weekly chart, which may offer some of the longest-running and most stress-free trend moves found on any time frame.
Hopefully you take time each week, or at least each month, to study your trades and recent performance in your trade journal. Many who do are often surprised to discover that the overwhelming majority of their winning trades come from a certain market, time of day, or even chart pattern.
See also: Do You Know When You Trade Your Best?
So if, for example, you knew that your worst underperformance came from trading USDJPY, or that you rarely profit from short trades or trading news releases, but when trading pin bars and pivots, you win more often than not, then why not consider eliminating what doesn’t work, and only trading what does? Not only would you regain plenty of balance between trading and life, but your performance metrics would stand to improve as well, just by imparting more simplicity and doing more of what you’re good at, and less of what you’re not.
Rather than coming online at the open, when intraday volatility tends to spike and price action tends to be the sharpest, try setting your positions to hit the market end of day instead. For starters, you’ll have a better chance at getting precise fills near the close, but in addition, you may avoid getting caught up in the early-day fluctuations that can grab your attention and cause you to stare at the screens, pay undue attention to the day’s news and data, or get swayed by what the “talking heads” and financial media are saying about the “can’t-miss” trade(s) setting up for that day.
While it stands to reason that adjusting your current strategy to impart more simplicity, better results, and a better balance between trading and life would work, for new traders and those looking to get their start, it’s smart to choose a method that’s already crafted with that in mind. So rather than ever subjecting yourself to the intense demands of intraday trading, try lifestyle trading instead, for benefits including less time and stress, more simplicity and repetition, and perhaps most importantly, the ideal balance between trading and life.
Read and learn more about lifestyle trading by clicking here, and if you’re ready to see all the merits in action for yourself, become a member of The Lazy Trader community. Your no-risk membership is good for a lifetime of timely trade ideas, continuing education, and a wealth of knowledge and resources to help you get more from your trading in as little as 10 minutes a day!