Do you ever make big plans for the trading day, but fall short of your expectations? Maybe during the off-hours, you decide to make a dozen trades, but when you get down to actually doing the work, you end up making only one or two trades. Do you procrastinate, feel overwhelmed, and feel like you are ready to crack under the pressure? If you’re feeling overloaded, perhaps you’ve taken on too much. There’s a lot you can do to streamline your goals and get the job done when the time comes.

Striving for perfection is an important ideal for trading. It’s vital that you thoroughly plan your trade. That may mean reading a stack of financial reports, scanning a slew of charts, or making a dozen phone calls to contacts that have the “inside” scoop. Preparing for the trade by methodically pursuing each of these avenues can mean the difference between winning big and losing. As important as these preparations are for success, however, you can’t spend too much of your time trying to complete more than you can do. There’s only so much time in a day, and only some much energy you can devote to a particular trade. In addition, if you spend too much time on a single trade, you may miss an important market move. If that were to happen, all your preparation would be in vain.

In the end, you must manage your time and energy wisely. It is vital to prioritize each activity and be realistic about what you can accomplish. For example, you may not be able to read 12 hours’ worth of reports and make a dozen phone calls in two days. It may be necessary to lower your expectations. You may have to settle for reading a few hours’ worths of reports and decide to call only three of your most informed contacts. When your expectations are too high, you may feel the pressure. And when you feel pressured because you are overloaded, you’ll tend to procrastinate and feel high levels of stress and anxiety. When this happens, you won’t get anything done. It’s better to be as realistic as possible regarding how much you can get done. You will feel calm and in control, and this will ultimately lead to greater productivity.

How can you approach a trade with a realistic work schedule? First, it doesn’t hurt to think big initially as long as you know that you are thinking in the abstract. If you think of 20 possible trading ideas, that’s great. Once you list them down, however, you must realize that it may be impossible to pursue all of them. After you have a list of ideas, it’s necessary to prioritize which trades are within your reach. This is easier said than done.

When it comes to deciding which trading ideas to pursue, you must weigh the probability of success with the time and energy it takes to prepare for the trade. A trade may have a high chance of success, but the preparation required may be insurmountable. Some trades are potentially more profitable than others but may take more time, the time you just don’t have. On the other hand, trade with merely a relatively good chance of success may be easier to prepare for and implement. Whatever you do, though, you have to make a decision. Don’t waste time deliberating. It is better to spend that time working on the trade-in order to execute it on time.

A reasonable plan is a workable plan. Learn to let go of unreasonably high expectations. You don’t have to be such a perfectionist. You can be a profitable trader even when you scale back. In the end, you have to get the job done. Making priorities and diligently pursuing each step will ensure that you execute your trades in a timely manner and increase your odds of success.

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