The back story: Traders can be obsessive when it comes to their trades. I’m no exception; my trading day used to include making long watch lists, set alerts on my trading platform to make sure I didn’t miss anything and more. I was holding stocks overnight, while stressing out about futures and news. At times when the market worked against me, I worked – and stressed – even more.
It meant that my day job – trading – was becoming my 24/7 obsession. I was distracted in the evenings. It also was hurting my trading because I found myself so stuck in my watch list that I missed some reaction trades.
The change: Wanting to take back control, I decided to focus on my edge, specifically speed and precision. That’s where I excel, and so I stopped holding anything overnight in my day-trading portfolio. I gave up the watch list to focus on the reaction trades, the ones where I feel like I am at my best.
The results: My stress level has fallen dramatically; work isn’t bleeding as much into the rest of my life at the times when I am not trading. And focusing on what I do best has helped my trading results too.
The moral of the story: Customize your trading strategy around your strengths and know your weaknesses. I’m better off concentrating on the difference that comes from saving a penny on a trade of 10,000 shares than I am in trying to locate something that I think might work out if I watch it long enough to eventually be in the right place at the right time.
Find what works for you in trading so that your life works around your trading.
Taylor Conway is the lead day trader at PennyPro.com. He is a short-term day trader of stocks and ETFs. At the time this article was published on RagingBull.com, his day-trading portfolio was 100 percent in cash because – since simplifying his methods earlier this year — that’s how he always stands when the market is closed.