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james_gsx

I took the week off - feel lost

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So I took the week off since I knew there was a holiday it would probably mean light trading, so I took the opportunity to study for my series 7 and catch up on some sleep.

 

Now I feel a bit lost, like I lost my motivation and "edge". I know that taking some time off to clear your head is a good thing, it's in my trading plan. But do any of you have any suggestions on how I can jump full swing back into things?

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Hey James,

 

I hear you completely. What I like to do when I feel totally out of sync with the market is to spend 2-3 days taking notes and observing instead of trading. This helps me get back on track. For me the most important thing is to be in harmony with the market. This means understanding the language of the markets, seeing all important levels, and having a clear view of the short term profile of the market. If I can not develop a solid trading plan for the following day, I usually note in my journal "apply a conservative strategy by waiting for a developing profile".

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Getting back into the daily routine usually get you back on track. Doing a checklist before the market opens each day eventually get your mindset back.

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I feel that way sometimes over an extended weekend.

 

My solution is to pull out a bunch of different time frame charts I have printed out and start noting different aspects of them. About a half an hour of this on a Sunday night has me ready to go and focused on Monday morning.

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I agree in taking two or three sessions of observation, then go live... you must remember that the last market you where trading maybe slightly diferent to the one you are looking right now... no hurry... you have many many sessions to make good money... cheers Walter.

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I'm going to go in the other direction here - so you took a week off, big deal. :o

 

I say get back on the horse Monday morning and do your job. If trading was a 'job' that someone else was paying you to do, you could not sit on your hands all week b/c you are 'lost'. In all seriousness, it just sounds like an excuse to not trade and/or laying the groundwork for any possible losses next week on something other than you.

 

Sorry if that's not as sugar coated as other replies here, but if you are running a serious business, then there's no question what you do Monday morning. If this a casual hobby for you, take the rest of the week, month or year off then! ;)

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I'm going to go in the other direction here - so you took a week off, big deal. :o

 

I say get back on the horse Monday morning and do your job. If trading was a 'job' that someone else was paying you to do, you could not sit on your hands all week b/c you are 'lost'. In all seriousness, it just sounds like an excuse to not trade and/or laying the groundwork for any possible losses next week on something other than you.

 

Sorry if that's not as sugar coated as other replies here, but if you are running a serious business, then there's no question what you do Monday morning. If this a casual hobby for you, take the rest of the week, month or year off then! ;)

 

Thats the answer I like to hear :)

 

I'm going to start reading some books and looking over charts tonight and tomorrow so I can get back in the swing of things. If it doesn't work, well then lesson learned.

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Guest cooter

There's 250 trading days in a calendar year.

 

You should be trading at least 180 of those days.

 

If school kids in North America can stay in class for 180 days, you ought to be able to trade the same amount of time yourself.

 

Just my two ticks' worth....

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Excellent post Cooter!

 

Here's how I see it - when daytrading the US index futures markets you have a limited window of opportunity each day. And of those days you are going to lose on some of them. You simply cannot eliminate the good days b/c you took time off or WHATEVER reason (excuse). I'm glad james agrees with my sentiment b/c as he said, this will be a lesson learned - good or bad. Either way he's going to realize something. What that something is will be found on Friday.

 

Just trade this week james as you would any other week and you'll be fine. Do NOT let taking time off be a hindrance to you as you will then program your brain to think that taking time off is bad and costly. That's a slippery slope to go down b/c then you will feel like you can never take time off or if you do, you are doomed when you come back. Not a fun game to play with your brain in my opinion.

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Well I just went ahead and wrote a plan for next week. I looked over all the technicals for the YM, ES, and NQ. Checked the charts for all my swing trading stocks, then did research on all of my investments. Then I put together a list of what I'm looking for as far as trades go, and basically how I'm going to trade the whole week. It definitely helped and now I'm back in the proper mindset and ready for tomorrow.

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Well I just went ahead and wrote a plan for next week. I looked over all the technicals for the YM, ES, and NQ. Checked the charts for all my swing trading stocks, then did research on all of my investments. Then I put together a list of what I'm looking for as far as trades go, and basically how I'm going to trade the whole week. It definitely helped and now I'm back in the proper mindset and ready for tomorrow.

 

One of the things I do is to continously write down my thoughts and trading plan on Microsoft word as the day progresses. I will usuallly have a page of notes typed up by the time the morning session ends. (includes premarket notes) Then I will reread it and prepare for the afternoon. I do the same thing during the afternoon and after the market closes. This helps me get into sync with the markets. I particular enjoy writing my afternoon outlook during the doldrums and go back to see how accurate my analysis was.

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One of the things I do is to continously write down my thoughts and trading plan on Microsoft word as the day progresses. I will usuallly have a page of notes typed up by the time the morning session ends. (includes premarket notes) Then I will reread it and prepare for the afternoon. I do the same thing during the afternoon and after the market closes. This helps me get into sync with the markets. I particular enjoy writing my afternoon outlook during the doldrums and go back to see how accurate my analysis was.

 

Could you keep these notes and publish them on a blog after the trading day is done?

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Does keeping a trading journal help from early on? I havent really kept a detailed journal apart form what trades I took and why I took them. I'm still a relative noob when it comes to trading in general not just futures. My market analysis is still not up there with some of you guys who have been doing this for ages so I'm fearfull of writing up notes on the market and taking advice from myself who is pretty inexperienced!

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Nick - your analysis is not as important as just getting your thoughts/ideas on paper for future reference. There's many different ways to do this, so do a google search and maybe some can post some samples here. I'll see what I can post later this week.

 

Just start something and you'll be amazed at where it morphs into later. There's no right answer here, so just do it!!

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Thanks for the idea to take notes on Microsoft word. I usually end up scribbling most of my notes since I'm busy watching the market and I can never understand what I wrote. I'm taking all my notes in word today, and so far it's working out very well.

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Something nice its taking charts and righting on them... have an archive of them or publish some here... you can see your evolution on some issues, for good or for bad.... cheers Walter.

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I made my first entry into my diary.

 

I've attached it as a word file for those who want to have a look. On my charts the times look odd because the program im using is really not working with my time zone here and its effecting everyting I do. Im on Ninja Trader atm but I need to switch to something else.

 

If my market open and close is not set to 12AM for both then no charts work! Their tech support has no clue why this isnt working and I'm sick of it, its effecting me heaps and I've lost over the last few days trading days a lot of cash from trading "on tilt" with my frustration over the god damn charts.

 

Regardless thats just one small excuse which isn't going to help me in a long run so I have to take it on the chin and do something about it.

Trading Diary.doc

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Good stuff Nick! See, you just did it and now you got a journal started.

 

My suggestions:

1) Document ALL trades on your chart, with annotation if possible. I recommend SnagIt for doing this easily. I think this is really, really important. I also document ALL trades and whether I took them or not and why.

 

2) I think it's good that you are tracking what you DID make and what you SHOULD have made. For me, this reinforces doing your job and doing it the right way.

 

3) From there, you can start some sort of tracking mechanism - either Word or Excel will suffice. This way, come Fri, you can easily look at your results and say:

A. I did my job

B. I kinda did my job

C. I wasn't close to doing my job

 

Of course, you can then also see how your trading methodology is holding up over time as well. It's way too easy for one or two bad days to make you rethink your entire trading plan... We've all been there. But, if you have documented proof that over the last month you are up XX%, that's a little easier to work with.

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I suffer from the same thing. For me the pattern is this

 

I trade badly (closing good trades early - very early). I pull away from trading (cut back on hours, taking more and more time off - I often miss trades when I am there) The plan is to get my head together. The final step is finding it hard to return to trading thinking there is a good chance I am going to make the same errors (sadly I have made them for quite a long time). Actually my whole 'undertrading' issue is knowing that I have not dealt with the psych issues that cause me to mis manage trades.

 

The advice given here is great to get you back in sync with the market. However if there is a more fundamental problem (which is very likely imho) then you may be better off not trading until you identify it and deal with it. If there was not (a problem) I cant help feeling that you would not be able to wait for Monday morning to come round.

 

A final thought. The success = effort = number of hours worked way of thinking can be detremental to your trading. (actually it almost certainly will as you become more succesful). Depending on the time frame you focus on and your aproach you can be done in a very short time each hour/day/week/month . I know a couple of break out traders that have there days trades planed and orders in within 10 minutes of opening a chart. Its off to the golf course or beach for the rest of the day then. Trading is not an endeavour where the reward is proportional to hours worked (except when learning I guess). I know that is not your problem but there are a couple of replies here that hint it might be, that can result in all sorts of guilt trips and self sabotaging behaviour.

 

Cheers.

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Well I did trade today, and I did occassionaly flip through my weekly plan that I had laid out. None of my swing trades fell into place so I didn't do anything there. I took a lot of notes on Microsoft Word and printed them out, and I'm reviewing them now.

 

I did notice something though, I hit my goal fairly early but I wanted to stay in the market. Usually I just walk away, but I stayed and noticed my emotions went up by quite a bit. I was just paper trading, writing down where I'd make my trades and I noticed I was just being stupid - no other way to describe it. I would try to take the contrarian side to a quick move (which I'm usually good at) but I would screw it up and wonder why the heck I just did that. Or it would work, and I would get greedy. I didn't notice this while I was trading, but thinking back about it now I noticed it.

 

Then tonight after the markets closed I felt like there was something I should be doing. Not sure what, but I felt very bored, so I just studied for the Series 7 test then read Vogue lol (I sell womens shoes so I need to know womens fashion).

 

I also noticed I have a hard time paying attention during the market, I get very bored (not saying I want it to be exciting, but I get bored staring at candles all day when I'm waiting for a trade). So I set audio alerts in case any of my trades were about to take place and shopped for new shoes and other things. Not sure if that's a good idea, but I figured it was better than walking away and going back to bed like I used to do.

 

Sorry if that made no sense. I know a lot about trading and I can explain a lot of strategies to people. I can look at a chart and tell you what you should have done. But I'm still new, and being in the game real time is completely different and it will take lots of practice. My main goal for this week is proper trade execution, and not to worry about money.

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Today I set out with my pre market analysis and set myself up with a trading plan. I noted down all the relevant price levels from my daily chart and wrote down everyhing in my journal. I went back and read yesterdays entry and noted to myself what lessons I had to heed from the previous day. I took a break played some games etc then sat back down for the start of the day.

 

I had on 4 trades today and I ended up +33 points. Since I'm only trading 1 contract at a time at the moment I stuck to my rules and took +10 on every trade no matter how tempted I was to let it go. I reasured myself that once I'm putting 2 contracts down the 2nd contract can take any additional points that are on offer but always get that +10 no matter what! I had one loosing trade which I took a 7 point hit and I put that down to being over eagre to trade.

 

Once you've written down a plan and you see it working you have to calm yourself down a bit because you can become a bit overconfident thinking that you've suddenly become some sort of analytical genious over night! Overtrading is my next hurdle.

 

Thanks for all your help Brown. Slowly slowly if I stick to my rules and be disciplied I can objectively look at what I'm doing and see if what I'm doing works.

 

Also thanks to James 2 (I'll call james_gsx James 2 so as to not be confused with Soul) for starting this thread.

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I'm going to copy my daily trading plan for Wednesday onto here from Word. It's short and simple, I have a more detailed weekly plan already sitting on my desk. This is basically just an update for me, so I know what to focus on. The trades to take are just the names that are in my 2007 online trading plan and are detailed there. I just list them on the daily plan so I know what to wait for. Input is definitely welcome.

 

What trades to take:

- Opening Gap

- Pivots

- Ambush Plays

- Scalps

The YM continues to trade in a tight range, and the NQ is proving to be the leader. Watch the NQ closely for a rally off the 8 EMA. Continue to watch the Dow swing plays I have in place.

 

Tuesday Review:

- AIG hit 8 EMA and fell, trade continues to work. Look for a small bounce when the stock hits the 50 EMA on the weekly chart.

- C – Continues to fall but the weekly trend line is holding up, watch for support.

- HON continues to trade in consolidation and what looks to be a bull flag, wait for a breakout.

- Same with HPQ

- IBM broke out of resistance and is looking for support, buy if support holds.

- JNJ – 8 EMA tried to cross above 21 EMA, if this happens then the short play is over.

- JPM – Continues to fall, short rallies to 8 EMA. Take note that the stock could be finding support at 50EMA on the weekly chart.

- KO continues to consolidate, wait for breakout.

- Same with MMM

- UTX is continuing to trend higher, buy pullbacks to the 21EMA which shows to be the strongest support line.

 

Objectives:

1. Focus on capital management

2. Focus on proper trade execution

3. Do not get emotional

4. Stops happen, follow the plan.

5. Daily YM goal – 20 pts.

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Excellent journal entry. One thing you might want to keep a list of is your mistakes for the day at the bottom or top. It's for quick peruse of how you did for the day. I.e.

 

Mistakes today:

#1 -- Didn't honor my target profit today

#2 -- Took a signal that was NOT part of the plan

 

I use this list to compare against previous days/weeks/months to see my progress on eliminating these mistakes. I think it was Longstreet who said "the team that win is the team that commit the least mistakes".

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    • Thanks for your suggestions man!! Our own decision surely makes us or breaks us. Thanks once again, buddy.
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