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The Oxford dictionary defines ‘routine’ as a sequence of actions that are followed regularly. When most of us were kids, our parents had us on a more or less strict schedule by the clock- we had a set schedule of when we would eat, sleep, and play. But as adults, with work and family pressure on our heels, we are quick to go off course and just ‘wing it’ instead of following a routine.
Suppose you have attended a life-improvement talk or googled phrases like how to be successful or lead a more stress-free life or anything of the sort. In that case, you must have observed that one of the foremost advice is almost always about setting a routine and making sure to follow it. Mike Murdock once said that the secret of your future is hidden in your routine, and that couldn’t be more true! Successful people do daily what others may occasionally do. One of the prime instances of this is in the daily routines of the world’s most successful people. Small but consistent daily habits have the power to shape your future like nothing else. It holds especially in terms of trading. The market is an eccentric, uncertain place where things usually do not go how you may have planned. In such an erratic and unstable environment, a series of purposeful, repeated behaviors is what will set you apart from the novice trader. Establishing productive habits that you follow consistently will decrease the scope for mistakes and will also ground you and help you become a more focused, calm, and rational trader. A routine that works for you can improve the results you accrue on the market while also allowing you to reduce your overall trading time.
Best Trading Routines and How to Stick to Them
Daily, the market has the potential to change by the minute. With an influx of information coming your way in a fast-paced, dynamic world, mistakes can happen every easily. A good pre-market routine is a key to success in the market. Going through the routine will only take a couple of minutes, but it will surely minimize the risk of errors while saving you from daily frustration and even some money.
- Before you jump into actually managing trades, you need to get an understanding of the market for that day. You must take the time to review the overall market sentiment for the day. Scan the wire to understand what the market is focused on. Don’t spend too much time on the news, though, just skim through it to understand the overall scenario.
- As you sleep through the night, economic reports and policy decisions rolled out in Japan may impact London, urther affecting the American market. To not get any undue shocks when you begin trading, you should also spend a few minutes to check the economic calendar before trading to look for any ‘high impact occurrences’ that may cause volatility in the market-leading to price gaps/spikes, etc. Government agencies release reports almost every day from where you can gather this information.
- After analyzing the market trends, you will also need to look at levels of support and resistance. Filter only the events and currencies you need to review.
Go through your trading plan (having a good plan is key!) and refine your watch list. You should also take the time to analyze the previous day’s trades, opportunities that you’ve missed, and study something new (lessons, courses).
- This might sound counterproductive, but limit the overall time you spend preparing for the market to give yourself some mental space to process the information.
Killers of trading performance
Not having a trading routine introduces many more variables in your life that will ultimately cause you stress and anxiety. A chaotic and random approach to trading will result in sporadic results – some days, you may succeed, while you may fail on many. It is not conducive to a sustainable-long term trading career.
While developing a routine, you need to keep a few key points in mind. A trading routine is meant to optimize your life and therefore needs to be sustainable and, in essence, repeatable. If your routine isn’t doable or can’t be absorbed into your lifestyle, you won’t be able to stick to it, and it won’t serve you any purpose. Moreover, anything in your trading routine that does not optimize your trading goals needs to get off your list. Your daily schedule is supposed to make you more productive by giving you more mental clarity and reducing your load. So if you find yourself gobbling up information in the wee hours of the morning that you cannot retain or use later, then you need to take a step back and reassess. Other than this, you also need to ensure your overall well-being – are you exercising enough, hydrating, and getting sufficient sleep?
Following a successful trader’s routine may help you streamline your life and work in the initial few days or weeks. However, there is no one-size-fits-all schedule. In order to hold your routine and witness long-term changes, you will need to tailor your plan according to your personality and needs. The idea is not to have a 10 step long, static schedule – your trading routine is allowed to change as your life and the market changes. The main aim is to follow a set of steps that will help you streamline your act even before you start trading so that you are not always stuck chasing the market and instead make the market work for you. In the initial month(s), the sheer amount of information you need to absorb and analyze before you start your day may seem too much, but it does get easier once you find consistency. The overall benefits of having a concrete routine outweigh the struggle in the initial few days or months.