What if “Play Golf,” or “Take the Day off” were actually required by your trading strategy? And not just because it’s fun; but because it’s a tactic that’s proven to help you trade your best? Now that’s lifestyle trading!
I simply have to tell you about a story I heard this week about a trader who, for whatever reason, never made money trading on Wednesdays! He poured through data and statistics trying to find out why, but there was just no obvious cause. It remained an outright mystery for some time, in fact. So do you know what he did? Well, it’s easy; he hasn’t traded another Wednesday since, and has been even better and more profitable for it!
Now this is a pretty unique scenario, but it does beg the question: Are there specific days, times, and/or scenarios when you trade your best, and do you know when—and why—that is?
You’ll probably need to consult your trade journal for this exercise, and rightfully so, since that’s a big part of what it’s for. Use it to take a deeper look at your trading, and see when your strategy most commonly produces wins (and losses), and if you can spot any trends and potential catalysts for that in the data.
Identify when you feel most calm and confident, when your strategy generates the most (and fewest) high-quality signals, and whether or not that coincides with the release of news and economic data.
Also pay particular attention to factors like:
This is all very telling information that can give you a deeper insight into when (and how) you trade your best, so look very closely.
Maybe you’re not as calm and focused in the morning as you think you are and should trade later or even end of day for better results. Maybe very specific set-ups and market conditions best suit your style and strategy, and you should focus more on those and downplay or even eliminate less-productive ones. (Also read “How to Profit More by Doing Less.”)
Or, like the trader in our earlier example, maybe a certain day of the week just “has your number,” and you either need to try to make adjustments in response to that, or, as he did, you could simply choose to stay on the sidelines instead.
Once armed with this information about when you trade your best, also consider what happens at those times when you don’t trade your best? Do you stray from your strategy, lack discipline or get distracted, or trade non-qualifying or sub-par set-ups? Or maybe your emotions and expectations get the better of you?
See also: Learn How Not to Trade, Too
Regardless, you can’t fix problems unless you know when and why they occur, and this helpful exercise will get you half way there by taking care of the “when” part. You’ll know when you trade your best—and when you don’t—and can then either look to adapt your strategy, or correct faulty methods and promote more consistency…but that’s not all you can do!
At least think about whether trading only when you know you trade your best is right for you. After all, when trading as little as 10 minutes a day using the Lazy Trader methodology, do you really need to care about what day or what 10 minutes it is? The trader in our example found an excellent solution just by eliminating the unprofitable period altogether, and maybe you can reap more benefit simply by doing that as well.
In an industry that’s famous (or maybe even infamous) for supercomputers, algorithms, and mysterious “black box” systems, it’s funny how a solution as simple as “Don’t Trade on Wednesdays” could make all the difference for a trader…but it did here!
So, what if the solutions to your own shortcomings as a trader were that simple, too, and how would you even know? Well, you can—and should—start by identifying the time and circumstances when you trade your best. From there, you’ll gain invaluable insight…and not just about the good times, either.
You’ll also isolate those times when you don’t trade your best, and can then make a plan to adapt accordingly. Who knows, maybe the answer to everything that plagues you in your trading can be fixed by going to the beach or spending more quality time with your family. If only every problem in life were that easy!