Welcome to the Traders Laboratory.

The Healthy Trader Let's share information on what it takes to maintain a healthy trading lifestyle. To be at the top of your game you have to take care of yourself -- here we'll all share how we do that, or should do that.

Like Tree13Likes
Reply
Old 09-18-2012, 06:03 AM   #1

TheNegotiator's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: London
Posts: 3,241
Ignore this user

Thanks: 351
Thanked 737 Times in 565 Posts

Performance and Focus

With one of the reasons Db started his Trading By Price/Trading in 90 Minutes in mind, I thought I'd start a thread to talk about focus and concentration. See the thing is in any performance endeavor, if you can't focus properly on what you are doing whether you have the best plan in the world or no plan at all, you aren't going to be able to execute it very well. Perhaps in trading and to a greater extent in day trading, there is a need to be able to concentrate for long periods potentially. The obvious way around this is the idea that you trade the first 90 odd minutes of a session. That way you will likely capture a portion of the day in which the market moves. On the other hand, it doesn't always work like that. It's important to recognize and account for the fact that the market does not care what your timeframe is and it is you who are artificially applying the window to it in order that you might be able to function better within that time.

Earlier in my career, I tended to do long sessions and be able to concentrate. However, they were draining at times and I found even then that the best days were ones which were done and dusted a couple of hours into the session. More and more I will try to trade in the first couple and last hour of the primary session and tend to other work in the meantime. But what I'm interested in discussing here for the benefit of others who perhaps haven't quite figured it out for themselves yet, is the way in which everyone prepares their mind for the day in order that they are on point.

For me, it is a combination of factors:-

1) Having tended to or allocating time for concerns outside of direct trading.

2) Being prepared for what to expect from the day. Knowing what eco releases are due etc. and technical levels as well as running through some possible scenarios in my mind to give me a better handle on things when they do start to happen.

3) Making sure I'm free from distractions such as work interruptions or family stuff for example.

4) Making sure I'm in the best physical condition I can be. So I shouldn't be tired or desperately hungry for example, although eating then trading also doesn't tend to work for me. Clearly being unwell is not especially supportive of a clear and focused mind either.

5) Finally, some kind of psyching myself up can help. Personally I like listening to certain music and that helps to centre me somewhat.

I can't think of anything else in particular right now myself, but I'm sure that others have very specific ways they get ready mentally for the trading day and I'm sure that others would love to hear about it!
__________________
Cheers,

TheNegotiator.

Sovereign Debt Yield Spreads

To contribute is to learn. Don't be that student who always sits at the back of the class.


Day Trading the E-mini Futures
- Discussing and trading the E-minis every day!

Bigger Picture in E-minis Discussion
- Tryin' to see the wood for the trees ;)
TheNegotiator is offline  
Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to TheNegotiator For This Useful Post:
friva (09-20-2012), Kien (11-25-2012), tradelifer2015 (04-15-2015)
Old 09-18-2012, 07:09 AM   #2

Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,886
Ignore this user

Thanks: 75
Thanked 259 Times in 219 Posts

Re: Performance and Focus

I figured out that sleeping in front of your screen due to exhaustion does not increase my trading performance.
Being well prepared is definitely a plus, even if you are day-trading. Studying charts and planning trades helped me for sure.
Free your mind and relax after trading...find some other things to do after you set your tp and sl...less stress=better decisions
TheNegotiator likes this.
Obsidian is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2012, 07:22 AM   #3

TheNegotiator's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: London
Posts: 3,241
Ignore this user

Thanks: 351
Thanked 737 Times in 565 Posts

Re: Performance and Focus

Quote:
Originally Posted by Obsidian »
Free your mind and relax after trading...find some other things to do after you set your tp and sl...less stress=better decisions
How do you go about doing this then? Placing a high level of importance on meditation (or at the very least something where you can properly take your mind off everything) and physical exercise is what I find helps me personally.
__________________
Cheers,

TheNegotiator.

Sovereign Debt Yield Spreads

To contribute is to learn. Don't be that student who always sits at the back of the class.


Day Trading the E-mini Futures
- Discussing and trading the E-minis every day!

Bigger Picture in E-minis Discussion
- Tryin' to see the wood for the trees ;)
TheNegotiator is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2012, 09:28 AM   #4
Sky Blocks Champion

SIUYA's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: a city of canals
Posts: 2,222
Ignore this user

Thanks: 606
Thanked 926 Times in 638 Posts

Re: Performance and Focus

I think the pre plan and post day review is important for most people...and too often neglected.
Once it then becomes second nature then you can look at a chart and just 'know' how things might/might not react, and what you have done wrong......but this is what takes a lot of experience and habitual reinforcement from a good strategy and repetition.

For most people I think in order to maintain concentration you need to understand when you dont need to maintain concentration.

(if you are a mean reverter, why trade and watch when its trending, if you are trend follower why trade when its range bound. - set the levels)

This is where the preparation of levels is important - when do you need to focus, when do you need to slack off.
When it becomes tiring is when you are watching, waiting, and hoping.

I also think as part of this, a review at the end of the day is important especially when starting.....this is when you need to be honest with yourself.....hard to do sometimes, and very much a smack in the back of the head, usually when you least want it, but most need it.

This way you can concentrate for what seems like a long time, but are in fact only concentrating for small zones....the rest of the time can be spent reading, listening etc.
(Golf analogy - golf is a game of 72 x 30 second intervals of concentration totaling 36mins - but it takes 4 hours to play. The work to be able to switch on is done in the preparation and practice)

Plus there is nothing wrong with a "26min power nap" if you need to refocus.
__________________
Context is king - and patience is more than a virtue, it is profitable.
SIUYA is offline  
Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to SIUYA For This Useful Post:
DbPhoenix (09-18-2012), tradelifer2015 (04-15-2015), wmck6167 (02-10-2015)
Old 09-18-2012, 09:56 AM   #5

TheNegotiator's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: London
Posts: 3,241
Ignore this user

Thanks: 351
Thanked 737 Times in 565 Posts

Re: Performance and Focus

Quote:
Originally Posted by SIUYA »
For most people I think in order to maintain concentration you need to understand when you dont need to maintain concentration
Very much so. Given this, you need to have a plan to tell you what you're looking for and learn what that looks like in real-time so that your attention is piqued when required. Think back to when you started and I'm sure even a short space of time concentrating was tiring.
__________________
Cheers,

TheNegotiator.

Sovereign Debt Yield Spreads

To contribute is to learn. Don't be that student who always sits at the back of the class.


Day Trading the E-mini Futures
- Discussing and trading the E-minis every day!

Bigger Picture in E-minis Discussion
- Tryin' to see the wood for the trees ;)
TheNegotiator is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2012, 10:31 AM   #6
Sky Blocks Champion

SIUYA's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: a city of canals
Posts: 2,222
Ignore this user

Thanks: 606
Thanked 926 Times in 638 Posts

Re: Performance and Focus

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheNegotiator »
Very much so. Given this, you need to have a plan to tell you what you're looking for and learn what that looks like in real-time so that your attention is piqued when required. Think back to when you started and I'm sure even a short space of time concentrating was tiring.
I was lucky - i started trading on a floor, and you had the added advantage of hearing when things became interesting.....and i can tell you, I slept on the floor, and then upstairs at the desk - one eye always open, learning to switch off and on. then i discovered tetris and other distractions (thank god for the pause button)

now I think if sitting by yourself you need to set your levels, have a plan of attack and go with it.....there is nothing wrong with wanting to go long all day, and never getting the opportunity to as it falls all day and you dont loose money as you never get a good chance to enter. Too often we think we need to make $x per day, what is wrong with making $5X per week when the opportunity arises, it might not happen until Wed afternoon.

The plan - the plan - the plan. If you have done any plan you know what to look for that will alert you to things in real time.
It might be as simple as a MA cross over to say right now I want to buy support on any pullback, or given xyz, I might need to chase it because this is the 3rd time its tried for a breakup and there is unlikely to be a pullback.....then after that.....it will probably run up, pullback, -- do i add, move my stop, panic out, reset.....this is what each person has to work out themselves.....
I might be bullish on the MA cross for the next ten days, my friend (imaginary) sitting next to me might be bearish for the next 10 mins, but we are now both alerted to something that has piqued our interest.

(I know my big weakness is being impulsive, so just because I get an alert does not mean I should act on it. Some days my impulsiveness works, other days it hurts. this fits with my plan that if I enter impulsively, i had better be quick to exit at a small loss, or small profit.....this then gives me time to slow down and assess properly - an itchy trigger finger pays the broker but it keeps me alerted as well - a small price to pay. However if everything lines up and the entry is clean, smooth, planned, then I dont want any impulsive exits......stick to plan.....)

EDIT - I attached a trade that happened as I was writing this - I had been a bit bearish all day in the EURUSD, but not running anything, just sell and buy....
BUT I only needed to be alerted when it rallied back through the MA.....
then when i see it fall, in a simple three wave down and start to rally quickly, from a higher low...remembering that the EURUSD has a bullish bias - I can go long.
Potential upside might be back above 1.3100, downside 8-10 ticks.
Now I will let it ride for abit - I might exit IF it fails to accelerate up which I would expect it to.....however it is also nearly 4pm and it could just as easily be done for the day.
Attached Thumbnails
Performance and Focus-eurusd-example.jpg  
__________________
Context is king - and patience is more than a virtue, it is profitable.

Last edited by SIUYA; 09-18-2012 at 10:43 AM.
SIUYA is offline  
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to SIUYA For This Useful Post:
TheNegotiator (09-18-2012)
Old 09-18-2012, 10:38 AM   #7

TheNegotiator's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: London
Posts: 3,241
Ignore this user

Thanks: 351
Thanked 737 Times in 565 Posts

Re: Performance and Focus

I think that one issue people can have is they get sucked into concentrating and then trading by price movement. Price movement outside of a plan ≠ great chance to trade. All price movement ≠ good. So focusing on just the plan but assessing the context of what the market is doing when you're not in trade mode is the way to go imho.
SIUYA and wmck6167 like this.
__________________
Cheers,

TheNegotiator.

Sovereign Debt Yield Spreads

To contribute is to learn. Don't be that student who always sits at the back of the class.


Day Trading the E-mini Futures
- Discussing and trading the E-minis every day!

Bigger Picture in E-minis Discussion
- Tryin' to see the wood for the trees ;)
TheNegotiator is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2012, 11:19 AM   #8

DbPhoenix's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Phoenix
Posts: 1,725
Ignore this user

Thanks: 604
Thanked 6,142 Times in 1,653 Posts

Re: Performance and Focus

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheNegotiator »
I think that one issue people can have is they get sucked into concentrating and then trading by price movement. Price movement outside of a plan ≠ great chance to trade. All price movement ≠ good. So focusing on just the plan but assessing the context of what the market is doing when you're not in trade mode is the way to go imho.
That depends on the "plan". Or what one is calling ''the plan". If the plan is to go long if price is going "up", or short if price is going "down", it is not likely that one is going to be placing that down payment on that Jag at any point in the foreseeable future.

Given the number of threads that have addressed this plan business just over the past few weeks, I can't help but feel that we're beating a dead horse. Just about everyone seems to acknowledge the fact that a plan is (a) necessary and (b) desirable, but few (i.e., practically nobody) wants to actually develop one, or at least one which goes beyond wishful thinking. But how does A persuade B to develop a plan when B doesn't really want to? Does A wait for B to run out of money and turn to the development of a plan out of desperation? Or does A wait for B to come to the realization on his own, eventually, that a plan is necessary? (Given the fact that traders can go on for 15 years or more without making any money, this could be a long wait.) And why should A care one way or the other?

A student will learn what he needs to learn when he reaches a point where he sees the need to learn it, whether it's the formula for determining the area of a circle (like when he has to lay down a pad for a hot tub) or how to drive a stick shift or how to mix concrete or how to develop a trading plan. I find it supremely ironic that people begin trading to make money yet do those very things which will prevent them from making the money that they allegedly began trading to make.

One cannot save people from themselves. But this doesn't stop the good-hearted from trying.

Db
tomerok likes this.
__________________
Eagerness to trade supplants deliberation.
DbPhoenix is offline  
Reply With Quote
The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to DbPhoenix For This Useful Post:
blocp (09-19-2012), SIUYA (09-18-2012), TheNegotiator (09-18-2012), tomerok (09-30-2012)

Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes Help Others By Rating This Thread
Help Others By Rating This Thread:

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Trading Edge: 100% Concentration and Focus Soultrader Trading Psychology 7 10-09-2013 10:45 AM
US Stocks Advance, Greece in Focus jacobfx Market Analysis 0 06-21-2011 12:15 PM
Sustaining Focus and Concentration evolved trader Trading Psychology 18 04-14-2009 01:27 PM
Practicing Focus.... TinGull Trading Psychology 30 07-16-2008 04:05 AM

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 01:58 PM.
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
CS to VB integration by DeskLancer
2006-2011 Traders Laboratory, All Rights Reserved.