This post has been selected as an answer to the original posters question
Couple of items.
You need to have a controlled distraction of some kind, whether it is a game, catching up on news, etc. Something that keeps you engaged for a short period of time while you wait for the markets to do something. You could get up and stretch or use an exercise ball (hmmm, maybe I should try that ;-)
Another idea is to use the time to work on some other trading tasks (i.e. tracking your trades, accounting etc).
Another idea is to look thru your trading plan or practice your trade entries.
Of course if the market is a complete drag, get up and go do something else.
I really only "trade" about 2 hours a day. That is when I am focused on just trading, earning a living, and everything else is a background priority (like the forum, or skype, emails, TV, errands, etc).
I'm usually chatting with a friend by Skype hands-free and we both trade the same instrument and we both are scalping and have similar entries, so just that light conversation talking about the markets or how corrupt our government is, whatever you can relate to , etc is enough to pass the time yet not so much that it is a distraction and causes you to trade poorly.
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In the AM I make sure Im well rested , eat a bfast with carbohydrates , take a shower and get some fresh air before getting in front of the screen . It sounds corny but act as if you were getting ready to go to the office and give an important presentation and youll be sharp for hours .
This has been my Question lately as well.
I have found giving myself a certain amount of time to watch the market, like an hour or maybe two, what ever works, start small like maybe a half hour. this allows me to be the cat watching the mouse hole effectively. it also gives a goal to shoot for..... only 10 minutes to go and i am off the clock.... the other thing that keeps my attention on the market is the market action and the story it is telling.... if you can start to pick up on what the market action is saying.
If you get bored, you are not trading in your zone of comfort. This can have several reasons:
(1) You have not slept well and/or some other problems and have a bad day -> stop trading for the day
(2) You have been staring at your screen for more than 2 hours -> take a break
(3) Trading is not for you -> stop trading altogether
Trading is a high performace mind game. If you are following price and order flow, it takes all your skill and concentration and can quickly exhaust you. So in the first place you need physical training every day to keep you up and compensate for the time in front of the screens.
You can compare yourself with an actor or a musician. Even if you are in shape, the first 15 minutes of your performance will not be convincing. Then again, after 90 minutes you will gradually lose your concentration.
So I only watch price action during the first 15 minutes and stop once I get tired. I plan my day to stop trading during the noon session. I do not seek distraction during the trading, this is dangerous. Distraction, like writing posts here or chatting with other traders, is allowed during breaks or after trading only.
I agree with Fat Tails, and the question is not "how to stay awake", but "why do I need to sleep now".
Maybe less time spent in trading is one of the solution, but we're not robots, it's hard/impossible to stay 100% focus on screens more than 2-3 hours in a row.
Usually in trading, those who know don't talk, and those who talk don't know. (Al Brooks)
success requires no deodorant! (Sun Tzu)