Every day people enter the market with the sole aim of making money. 

This means competition is harsh and only people who are adequately prepared will stay on top.

That’s why the importance of following a good daily routine cannot be over-emphasized. It can help you improve trading and boost your chances of success. 

Here’s a process I follow daily;

1.Wake Up Early

Remember the saying; Early bird gets the worms”

Most successful swing traders begin their day at 6 a.m. EST well before the opening bell.

I tend to wake up even earlier…as early as 4 a.m EST, I’m already active

Those few couple of hours before the opening is important for getting an overall feel for the day’s market, drawing your plan, and checking up on existing positions.


2.Stay Up To Date With News

When it comes to trading (just like everything else)…”Knowledge is power”

One of the first things I do after waking up is to catch up on the latest news and developments in the markets. 

It’s important to stick to reputable news sources though like Market Watch, or quickly skim through channels like CNBC or Bloomberg.

 I like to look out for things like; the overall market sentiment (is the market bullish or bearish? What’s inflation like? Key economic reports, etc), Sector sentiment (what are the hot or growing sectors?), and current holdings (like FDA approvals, earnings, SEC filings, and news like that).

3.Check Your Current Positions

Before the market starts, I like to see how my existing positions are doing.  

A good practice here is checking the news to see if anything has happened to the stock overnight. Or looking at SEC’s EDGAR database to see if any filings have been made and how it affects the current trading plan. 

Depending on how things turn out, I might adjust my stop-loss and take-profit points. And if things go south, I exit and cut my losses.

4.Find Trade Ideas

At this point, things are starting to get interesting. The next thing on my list is usually finding potential trades for the day. As a swing trader, fundamental catalyst and technical analysis are my bread and butter.

They’re my guide to entering, managing, and exiting a position.

What are some good ways to find fundamental catalysts?

Unique opportunities: This is a risky (but rewarding) play on the market’s overreactions to the news by buying when most traders are selling and selling when everyone else is buying. Examples would be public offerings (IPOs), bankruptcies, mergers, insider buying, or similar events.

Chart breaks: The goal here is to look for different types of patterns designed to predict breakouts or breakdowns — like Wolfe Waves, Fibonacci levels, Gann levels, etc. Traders will typically buy after a breakout and sell again at the next resistance level.

Sector plays: This involves buying into trends at the right times and then riding the trends until reversal signs start showing. A good way to find these is by analyzing the news to find good-performing sectors. 

It’s important to keep your process for finding trade ideas as repeatable and simple as possible. 

Screeners and scanners are handy for searching the market for ideas.

There are loads and loads of them out there and they’re different — some of them scan for technical patterns, some focus on unusual options activity, others scan for dark pool activity, and lots more. 

Like I always say, always try to keep things as simple as possible.

When screening for trends, you’re most likely looking to buy things that are going up, so look out for performance and basic technical indicators.

If you’re screening for mean reversion, you’re most likely looking to buy things that are going down. This means you should keep an eye on low RSI or poor recent performance.

5.Make a Watch List

An important part of every successful trader’s routine is building a watch list. These are the stocks that have the best potential for being a good trade. 

A good practice is to trade stock on your watchlist and avoid jumping on a new shiny stock that catches your eye. This is where discipline comes in.

And speaking of discipline brings us to the next point…

6.Prepare Your Plan

This is probably the most important step of the trading day.

No one goes to war without a plan, right?

After spotting some potential trades (the WHAT), it’s time to figure out the HOW.

How are you going to size and execute your trades?

This step is different for each trader and it depends on your own trading style. But you should try to figure out key things like:

  • How do you plan to execute? 
  • When do you plan to enter?
  • Your position size
  • How do you plan to exit?
  • What’s your stop loss?
  1. Evaluate Your Performance

After the closing bell rings, I don’t just log off. 

With things going on in our lives, it’s easy to get pulled in different directions. 

One important thing I make sure to do daily is performance evaluation. I like to go over my trading activities and spot out things that stood out (both positive and negative). 

This process helps me identify areas that need improvement or areas that I actually did well. 

This is also a good time to quickly look at my open positions again and check if there are any last-minute events that may affect things.

  1. Be Sure To Journal

When you write down your goals in your journal, you can keep better track of your intentions and have better clarity.

It’s been proven that writing your thoughts out helps your brain process them better. 

I like to write down any important questions on my mind, random ideas, curious thoughts that I have about trading. I tend to make a note of key lessons during my losing and winning streaks.

All of this stuff adds more clarity and creativity to my thought process.

Jason Bond


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