(Why and) How many hours a day do I spend trading, analyzing the markets, and my charts?
Before there was a word for it, I think I was looking at how I could “hack” trading… in other words: How would I get the best (most effective) results in the shortest amount of time?
Have you ever looked at how much time you are spending on the markets? Now I don’t mean while actually studying or learning – that’s something can be done a little each day or with a total immersion over a (usually) shorter period of time. (I’m more the immersion type…)
I’ve been tracking how much time I spend on the markets closely since last February of last year and it depends on which time frames I am trading. If it is short term (15 minute, 30, 60) then I am logging about three to four hours per day between 8am and 11am EST. When it’s the 240 and daily chart it’s about an hour per day about 7:30am to 8:45am EST). From my past observation, the trends on the 240-minute and daily time frames have been more productive. Now I know much of any trader’s return is going to be based on the trend and/or volatility of the time frames traded. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “All a trader can do it take what the market gives you.”
I think most people know that spending more time in front of your monitor(s) does not necessarily equate to a better trading return – yet it doesn’t seem stop people from over-trading & over-analyzing. It reminds me of the investing *tinkerers* who keep shifting their portfolio allocation on a monthly or (gasp!) weekly basis. As I say often, we traders live in a RESULTS economy, not a time economy.
When I first started trading it was off the daily chart and daily chart ONLY! That’s all that was available to me! My trades were few and far between as daily chart set ups typically took 30 to 90 days to set up and I was tracking just under two dozen markets.
I want you to start to question your time spent versus results. (Again, subtract the hours spent on education. I read a book about every ten to fourteen days and if it’s trading related I do not count that time.) There are more stimuli bombarding us than EVER: More websites, more videos, blogs (including mine!), and television coverage. How do you tune out what it unnecessary and focus on what it?
In my opinion, don’t buy into the investors and traders that say you have to stay on top of every central bank comment, every geopolitical event, analysts, reports…I truly believe that all news and fundamental data must be confirmed by price action. That means as long as you are not ignoring key reports (“red hot, hot zones” like NFP, FOMC decisions, Retails Sales, CPI, among others) and major geopolitical events (war, elections, natural disasters) you will see the reaction built into price action. In fact, when you trade daily charts, these “major” events appear relatively insignificant; the resulting price action gets swallowed up the average daily range (http://www.ibfx.com/Tools/Power-Stats)
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