Trading for a living is a very glamorous lifestyle, from the outside.
Working from anywhere with an internet connection.
No boss to answer to.
No dress code.
Buying and selling at a moments notice.
Staring at all those beautiful charts on big monitors.
Reading news voraciously.
Discussing global issues over martini’s with world leaders in Davos.
All those things can be true, but the real day to day of a trader is more about doing less, eliminating the noise, finding where your advantage is and exploiting that advantage to its greatest effect…at least for me!
The real life of this trader is actually a pretty enjoyable life. I’ve developed habits that help me eliminates much of the clutter, the drama and noise and let’s me focus on exploiting those beautiful trade setups that I just sit back and wait to show up.
Warren Buffet talks about waiting for the perfect pitch. He considers himself a batter at the plate and each investment idea he see’s is a pitch. The advantage he has is that he does not need to swing at every pitch. He can sit back and wait while pitch after pitch comes his way, there is no count, there is no umpire to call a strike or a ball.
Trading is the same way.
Identify where your sweet spot it, where your perfect trade setup is and wait until that setup arrives.
In my case, I focus heavily on Forex, Futures and Cryptocurrency markets. I have spent a large portion of my life trading equities, derivatives, and currencies.
A typical day for me has a fair amount of structure, but it’s also a structureless design so that I can take advantage of great weather, time with my wife, lot’s of reading and writing and travel.
Key elements for me:
- Always have internet connection, Wifi, Tethered Hot Spot, SkyRoam
- Always have access to my charts/algos
- Always have access to my trading accounts
- Be in a position to make good decisions
Living a nomadic lifestyle with those requirements is actually very easy if they are prioritized.
In order to maintain that minimum requirement I need to plan my life around it, traveling, wifi, backup tools, and not taking on responsibilities that would keep me from maintaining these key elements.
Keeping my mind right, not being anxious, overly aggressive or passive are how I make good decisions. This is what a day in the life looks like.
A Quick Snapshot of the Day In the Life
- Wake up
(no alarm 4-5am) check charts.
- Cold, really cold shower
- Make coffee (this is a whole ritual with grinding and preparation) of the highest, and cleanest caliber.
- Grab noise canceling head phones and start reading.
- I typically read for about 4-8 hours first thing in the morning. Articles, books, forums, comments, deep and light research are usually how I spend those 4-8 hours. Additionally I work on my book or blogs during this time.
- Coffee is added throughout the day.
Bloomberg TV is on in the background all day…and night.
- Lately I’ve been trying to write 1 article per day.
- Workout (11AM)
- First Meal = Post Workout Protein and Carb+Protein (12pm)
- Afternoon workout which is a long mountain run or hike (usually another 2hours) listening to an Audiobook or Podcasts
- Check markets, update positions, place new entry/exit orders. Cook the big meal (steak!)
- Evening unwind, hang with my wife
-Some days I eat more, especially refeed days!
My screens are always on, my charts always up, I’m always monitoring the market but not making decisions until a decision is just so obvious that I am compelled to make a trade.
As a systems trader I have to make end of day decisions on the markets, actually the decision is binary, is there a trade? If yes, I enter my risk management and orders, if not carry on.
Rarely do I schedule things to follow a time line, sometimes I’ll meet with people or do a phone call at a set time but those are few and far between.
It seems ironic that trading the most volatile, manic/depressive markets in the world, that never has a day, hour or minute off would be the thing that has calmed me down.
Rather than the glamorous image of a trader, screaming and yelling, monitors everywhere, news feeds galore, look at me trading and you’ll see a nerd with headphones working on spreadsheets or writing while the market goes about its way causing chaos and manic depression amongst the unprepared… it is a lovely thing.
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