One tip to improve your trading dramatically, literally “overnight”

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For years I trained myself to wake up as late as possible, I thought that going to sleep late at night and then barely make it to wake up at, maybe 11:00 or 12:00 PM the next day, was a victory on self freedom. When I was at college I even managed to arranged my lectures so I could wake up at 11:20 have quick breakfast and start my first class at 12:00. That was the idea, but somehow I was always late to that 12:00 class.

I liked to tell myself that I was able to do great things late at night. Like it was some magical time, away from daily distractions and noises, a time just for for myself to do and concentrate on my own things. Strangely enough, at late hours I was hardly making any masterpieces, I was mostly playing video games, watching TV or, at most half reading a book while my mind was having a hard time trying to concentrate on the book and keeping awake.

Trading was no different, at the beginning of my trading carreer, finding out that the Forex market was a 24h thing, I decided I wanted to trade most of the time, so I was struggling to stay awake for the entire London session and sometimes I even managed to keep awake all the way until the NY session opened. I thought I was like a hero, someone who was taking it’s trading so seriously that was even willing to sacrifice sleep hours for it’s craft. I didn’t understand why I wasn’t getting the millions in my account, even if I was making this huge “sacrifice”, wasn’t the money coming for those who “sacrifice” the most?

Wrong!

The real sacrifice and the real discipline was to learn to have good sleeping habits, wake up fresh after a good night sleep, and use all your brain power when it’s at it’s best, to make money in the markets.

Trading, like any other intelectual intensive activity, is better done in the morning, when you’ve just awake and your senses are the best possible. It’s important to have enough peace of mind, and most of all, to have a touch with reality. Somehow in those long no sleep nights, your mind starts to trip away and many of us can feel half asleep half awaken. That’s the worst state for trading. That state of mind will drive you to make mistakes, to be emotionally weak, to be less accurate with calculations, and, the worst of all, to break your own rules.

No matter how appealing it looks to stay awake staring at the markets, it’s important to limit your trading hours to your best performing hours. If you can’t trade in the morning, many people just can’t, because you have a day job I’d recommend you to:

a) change your day job, so you can give your best hours to yourself, not to someone else

b) find a strategy that is not so time consuming

I have a strategy that produces quite great results and you only need to watch the markets on the weekends, yes on the weekends when they are closed. Then you just leave your pending orders ready for Monday, you don’t need to be glued to the markets and your screens to trade profitably.

Don’t let the markets drive you, better drive the markets to your own convenience. Use the night for relaxing, resting and geting ready for the next day to make it the best possible.

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2 comments on “One tip to improve your trading dramatically, literally “overnight””

  1. Simon Reply

    Totally agree about the tiredness thing. I’ve created a few rules about it because it has so badly influenced my trading in the past. I’ve also given up even having a couple of beers the night before trading because it affects my sleep and makes me drowsy in the morning. I’m even considering giving up all together as as it affects my ability to concentrate the day after for even things like reading. Yesterday I was at a conference in London with Rob Booker and had 3 pints of beer the night before in my hotel after four weeks without and I kept feeling like falling asleep throughout which was a pity as it was really interesting. Enjoying your book that I just downloaded and like the blog. I too keep a blog fxoutlier.com but am not yet successful for many of the reasons you mention in your book. I journal my trades on the blog but not in any spreadsheet sort of way so will be looking to do that. Also I’ve no definitive plan which is why my trading is a bit all over the place but I’m working on it. Thanks for the good blog. I’m working my way through it along with the book and several others at the moment, searching for direction. I’ve signed up for updates. Keep up the good work.

    • Paul Reply

      Hi Simon,
      Thanks a lot for your comments and your kind words, I am glad you enjoyed the book. Regarding trading and drinking alcohol I once met this guy in Florida who actually really NEEDED a drink to trade right. However I’d say this is exeptional and must of us need a clean healthy environment and mindset to trade the best possible way. I’d definitely take a look at your blog and I wish you all the luck in your trading. Let me know if I can be of any help.

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