Updated from its original posting: 04 Feb 2011
It's 9:00 pm. After a long day at work, Jimmy switches on his laptop and turns on the TV to catch the episode of Man Men he recorded on TiVo. He's in the mood to do a bit of scalping and he has decided to open a short GBP/JPY position.
His trade is in the money at the moment, and he tells himself he'll exit manually once price reaches his profit target. But wait a second, what's this? Christina Hendricks in a form-fitting little black dress?!! He stares at the TV with eyes wide open, unaware that in the three minutes he has been ogling Christina's curves, price has already reached his target and is now turning against him.
By the time Jimmy takes his eyes off the TV and sets them back on his trade, it's too late. His stop loss has been hit. He just let a winning trade turn into a loser.
Like many traders out there, Jimmy unfortunately suffers from trading distractions, and unfortunately, distractions may not always be as appealing as Ms. Christina Hendricks. They can come in the form of an annoying little brother, a barking dog, an empty stomach, or that Gangnam Style video that you just can't help playing on loop.
Let's face it - we all deal with distractions, in one form or another. It doesn't matter so much exactly what the distraction is, but rather, what's more important is the detrimental effect that it can have on our work.
Like Jimmy, distractions take our eyes and our mind off what we should really be focusing on - trading.
What we have to realize is that trading is just like real work - you reap what you sow!
You have to put in the hard work: educating yourself by going to a forex school, reading up on trading systems, going through charts like Big Pippin, being aware of the current fundamental data moving the markets, interacting with other traders in forex forums, and keeping a trade journal in order to become successful.
Yeah...It's a lot of work, but as the saying goes, "Anything in life worth having is worth working for."
You should treat trading as if it were a real job, which means taking it seriously and overcoming obstacles that stand in the way of success.
Here are some of my personal favorite tips on how to limit distractions while trading:
1. Set a defined trading time each day that you will strictly follow
Whether you trade part-time or full-time, maintaining a STRICT schedule is very important. You want to maximize the time you've dedicated to trading. So if your schedule says that you will trade every night from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., you better trade for the full 3 hours and don't take off at 8:50 p.m.
2. Inform your loved ones to not disturb you during trading time
Sometimes, simply asking your significant-other / roommate / best friend/ Chewbacca to not disturb you while you're trading will do wonders for your focus. Also, knowing that they support what you're doing can help relieve you from unnecessary stress.
3. Write down the websites that you allow yourself to visit during trading time
Write down on a piece of paper the websites you allow yourself to visit will make it easier to avoid other websites that divert your attention from trading. You can also consider using a separate browser just for trading, and setting controls that block off certain websites. Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do to stay focused, right?
4. Only trading-related material is allowed in your work area
Sorry, this means no Xbox Kinect, no Nerf guns, and no 50 Shades of Gray! Only surround yourself with things that will help you improve your trading performance. You might even wanna consider leaving your iPhone 5 in another room if you find it too distracting.
Maintaining focus is difficult, but it's not impossible IF you are committed to it. Hopefully, these simple tips of mine will help you limit distractions and make you a more focused and disciplined trader.
Do you have any tips to help limit distractions? Share them with the rest of the community by commenting below!
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