My daily routine: checks and balances for a successful trading session

By Steve W.
COPYRIGHT 2011 NoBrainerTrades.com
My Daily Routine: Checks and Balances for a Successful Trading Session

After all these years, one thing I have never actually discussed on this site is my daily routine: what I do to help prepare myself for a good daily run. I have been asked about this many times now so this post is written with the intent of clearing this up.

The articles on this site always have and always will stress a need for individuality; everyone is different and what is right for me might not necessarily work for others. In addition to simply trading spot FX I’m doing a number of other related things as the needs of my clients are continuously changing, but in terms of the former component, below is perhaps the best possible summary I can give.
Mental Preparedness and Staring the Day

I have a simple rule: no looking at emails, no checking the news, no casual phone or other form of communication for the first hour after I get up. I have found over the years that the quickest way to stress me out is to start drilling through the digital world in the first few minutes of my day. This is “me” time, and allows me to relax and start the day in a composed manner. I drink my coffee, eat my breakfast, relax and get my things together before hitting any form of work or challenging my brain in any way, shape or form. I’m unplugged.

I purposely grabbed an office space within walking distance to where I live so it’s no strain on convenience in terms of getting there. Being composed, alert and ready for action, so to speak, is the ultimate goal towards being prepared for the session. Could I work from home? Perhaps, but I have found over the years that disconnecting work and home just allows me to be more productive. My office has everything an office should have: computers, monitors, phone, printer, books and records, some plants, and a good amount of space so I never feel cramped. The best part about the office is it lacks the things an office shouldn’t have: a wife asking you about the weekend (but I love her very much), a TV with a bazillion channels, leisure magazines, a full kitchen, or anything else that can possibly distract me. If you must work from home, I would find a way to create an illusion of disconnect as best as possible. Physically separate yourself from anything that could deter you from moving forward.

I also get in a “breathing” session at some point prior to heading to the office. Whether it be a full-blown workout at the gym or a brisk walk around the neighborhood I like to get my blood flowing and mind active for a busy day ahead.

I get to the office, check emails, write some responses, do a favor for a friend, etc. And it’s time to work. Aside from any housekeeping things associated with maintaining a business, we’ll get into what my day looks like in terms of actual trading:
The Tools

There are a few tools that I use everyday, and simply can’t function without. There aren’t that many:

Execution Platform
Several charting software platforms, from different providers, to compare bids and asks
A phone with my broker’s trading desk’s numbers listed on speed dial
A live, speaking audio feed for news and events with a readable format to match, and another from another provider just in written form
Bloomberg Platform for any complex research
Internet browser for the regulars: Bloomberg, Reuters, WSJ, Financial Times, etc.
Easy-to-see / access monitors.