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How do you stay focused while trading?


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How do you stay focused while trading?

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  #1 (permalink)
Seattle
 
Experience: Beginner
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What techniques do you all employ to stay focused on your charts and screen while trading? Especially scalping where you really canít take your eyes of your indicators. Iím having a really hard time staying staying focused and tend to attempt to multi task.

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  #2 (permalink)
Evans GA/USA
 
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kevinhpchan View Post
What techniques do you all employ to stay focused on your charts and screen while trading? Especially scalping where you really canít take your eyes of your indicators. Iím having a really hard time staying staying focused and tend to attempt to multi task.

Take several breaks throughout the trading session. Scalping requires 100% focus so make a few trades, get up and walk around a little, come back and hit it again. It's very easy to become distracted. I still fight with this all the time. To help, I put headphones on and some good music but not too loud. Trading from home actually makes it a bit more difficult in my opinion. Too many distractions. I moved my trading station to a room no longer in use in the house and I keep the door shut while I am trading. Everyone in the house knows that if you knock on the door it better be because something major has just happened. There is a sign on the door that says "Ask yourself if knocking on this door is worth disturbing the Ogre inside." LOL!

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  #3 (permalink)
Elite_Member
Wiltshire, United Kingdom
 
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@kevinhpchan

I find PriceSquawk | Audible Market Technology makes it much easier to stay attached to what is going on. Adding another sense makes it less tiring or welcoming of distractions than solely staring at the screens all the time.
(Also a standing desk helps keep me alert rather than being sat in a comfy chair.)

Trading, ideally structured, is a vehicle for expanding consciousness, not damaging it. - Brett Steenbarger
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  #4 (permalink)
North Carolina
 
Experience: Beginner
Platform: NinjaTrader, Tradestation
Trading: es
 
Posts: 644 since Nov 2011

First question is ask why are you attempting to multi-task? What is your multi-tasking activity? It may be suggestive of poor market cognition. Let me say, reading the market in real-time (tape reading) is useful if it helps your market cognition. There are other ways to get the market cognition flowing, however.

But it sounds like you do not have proper active mindset. Is it because you are tiring quickly? If so, it is a sign of too much stress or too much focus. You may want to increase your holding time. Are you trying to do more? If so, you need to use time blocking to set aside specific time for your trading.
  • Focus on market during high volatility time of day only. Use time blocking. Block this time out.
  • Create alerts/filters. Tape reading market is tiring. Creating conditions may be helpful.
  • Convert multi-condition indicators into simple color coded charts that can be read instantly
  • Adjust and use best tools properly. Unsure whether it would be wise for me to discuss as a vendor but scalping is something where you really need to configure your setup. Do you need to show so many bars? Do you need so many charts? Can you make some changes to make it easier to read the price action? Thinking along these lines may help.

On the multi-condition indicators, I show how to do this at my blog. But the concept is really simple, you create a color condition for example to paint the background in different shades based on your indicator conditions.

Scalping is a really difficult style. Your inattention may be a product of a market not yielding much opportunity or a poor stylistic fit. You may need to make some adjustments. One option is whether it is a scalp or whatever, is to try to find the best 2-3 trades per day, per hour, per 15 minutes, etc. If you can start to identify the best 2 trades, for example, every even hour even in hindsight and start to focus in on those trades and then start to actually make those trades in real-time then I think that's a better plan then trying to scalp a high frequency of trades. It could still be a scalp but more selective- just a thought. If you are sizing and taking good trades, you shouldn't need to take so many trades per day.

But, yes for proper and most insightful diagnosis, you need to examine what your doing and why you are doing it. As well, you may need to switch gears as the market changes.


kevinhpchan View Post
What techniques do you all employ to stay focused on your charts and screen while trading? Especially scalping where you really can’t take your eyes of your indicators. I’m having a really hard time staying staying focused and tend to attempt to multi task.


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  #5 (permalink)
Boise, Idaho/USA
 
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I totally agree with TP Predictor on the glance at it don't read it with fast charts. When I first saw the effort going into coloring indicator backgrounds I thought it was silly. Then I moved to faster charts and I figured it out real fast!

I am no longer a 13 year old and I know my reflexes are shot. So I am following a vendors suggestion and letting Ninja do the scalping. I just look for set-ups and if I see one coming I wait for the bar to close and then set either a market if touched or a limit order. If filled Ninja sets the stop and profit targets. Takes the gun fighter out of the equation. and makes it more like fishing.

Also get a bar timer or tick counter so you have an idea of how much longer on a given bar.

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  #6 (permalink)
North Carolina
 
Experience: Beginner
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You might also look at anti-distraction website blockers like FocusMe and Freedom.to. I am trying FocusMe for studying purposes and seem to be getting some value out of it.

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  #7 (permalink)
Minneapolis MN
 
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kevinhpchan View Post
What techniques do you all employ to stay focused on your charts and screen while trading? Especially scalping where you really canít take your eyes of your indicators. Iím having a really hard time staying staying focused and tend to attempt to multi task.

Here are a few more ideas:
  1. Mindfulness training, such as with the popular Headspace app, can help you learn how to sense in real-time when you've lost focus. Then, if you notice you've lost focus, you can engage counter measures to regain it, or simply halt trading as a means of protecting capital. Mindfulness trading also appears to help you assess your mental state in general, which could give you an advantage in simply not trading if you're distracted.

  2. As has been mentioned, continually evaluating for and isolating yourself from distractions, such as noise or non-essential charts and indicators can lessen the energy required to maintain focus.

  3. If your platform supports it, increasing the chart update interval to around a second when scalping fast instruments like the nasdaq may help you filter out extraneous price movement and better focus on your signal. Also, using "Chart trading" or hotkeys instead of the DOM might help too if DOM data isn't essential to your strategy.

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  #8 (permalink)
Minneapolis+ MN / USA
 
 
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You're not serious are you? Losing $$ right?

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  #9 (permalink)
Monterey, CA
 
Experience: Intermediate
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Trading: ES, CL
 
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Meditation man! It's the practice of getting better at focusing and at noticing when your awareness has slipped to something else.

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  #10 (permalink)
Europe
 
 
Posts: 5 since Sep 2017
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Step away from the screen when mind starts to get cloudy, drink small amounts of water constantly.

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  #11 (permalink)
Minneapolis
 
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Turn off my cell phone and tell my GF to leave me alone during trading hours (much harder than it seems). FWIW.


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  #12 (permalink)
Cuernavaca, Mexico
 
 
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Trade just one market.

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  #13 (permalink)
Rovigo (ITALY)
 
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I will not answer your question but I will tell you something that might help you:
there is no shame in not being focused, we all get distracted and lose focus, some might also say that there is no real need to be focused at all. So you are completely free to be focused or not focused, in both cases nobody will judge or will consider you guilty of anything.
If you feel that focus is important, chose to focus! Otherwise relax and don't focus at all, and develop another strategy. Accept yourself and your current state of mind and don't focus on being focused.... you will end up very focused.

I cannot express this in any other way.... acceptance is more important than focus.

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  #14 (permalink)
SpeculatorSeth
Salt Lake City, Utah
 
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Man you guys dug up a really old one this time.

So my suggestion is that you don't really want to be focused ALL the time. Chemicals like norepinephrine that help you focus are not always in infinite supply in your brain. The more you focus the more that these chemicals get used up until you become fatigued and can't concentrate anymore. It is possible to stimulate the release of more chemicals, but that's not always possible or what you want. For instance, being in a life threatening situation can stimulate the release of more norepinephrine. So you might notice that when something is going against you it's a lot easier to laser focus in on the market. However, you might also notice that it's harder to act or make good decisions in this state too lol.

So the solution is to only be completely engaged when you really need to. Know the conditions that are favorable, have alerts setup, and only zone in when there's lots of opportunity. That does sometimes mean you might miss a fast opportunity, but it's better than going into fatigue induced tilt.

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