When doing what you can is all you can do

It’s no secret a huge issue for retail traders trying to learn the markets is the balance you need when fitting it in to a normal life. I don’t know how many times I’ve read about making time for learning, evaluating, journaling not to mention the actual act of trading in addition to the normal needs of being a husband and a father. Just make time they say, get up at 5am. And whilst I do make time, and whilst sometimes I do get up at 5am, recently this has just been bullshit and quite frankly I’ve had to prioritise daily life. That’s fine though and after a stern word with myself I’ve let myself off the hook of judgment!

This week I’ve just had to be happy with getting done what I could. The surprising thing is, it’s really uplifting. It’s probably uplifting in the in the first sense because it’s more than I’ve been able to do for a good while, mainly because I’ve been so busy at work. I made a decision to let the fact I wasn’t getting much done not stress me out and accept that for a while my market activities were going to be limited to reading, watching the occasional recording and listening to podcasts.

That acceptance has really helped. It freed me and allowed me to let go of the frustration of not getting to trade and the associated feelings of disappointment in myself and my commitment to the game. It also allowed me to concentrate on the little things that I was able to do as fully as I could. In the last few weeks I’ve gone over the both the Beginner and Intermediate No BS Day Trading courses again (which are great), allowing me to remember some key points that I’d forgotten and it also allowed me to discover a cool new podcast (well new for me at least) and listen to some great insights. Chat With Traders has been around for a little while now and is probably something that I’m late to the party with (along with Tweetdeck which I only discovered this week) but it’s been a gift from the trading gods to my motivation since finding it.

I’ve already listened to some great episodes and become aware of some great stories from other traders, some are really inspirational. The long story short I guess is that by chilling out with the fact I’m going to be busy and getting done what I can, it’s helped actually digest what the information I was consuming rather than it all going over my head because I’m preoccupied with the knowledge I’ve not got much time to devote to trading!

This week has been a continuation of the theme. Rarely however I have a week off and a full Monday to Friday period where I’m able to trade. The catch? I still have to be a Husband and a Dad and this week I really need to do my bit. My wife is knackered and I can’t afford to just come home and lock myself away to trade. So I decided to just get done what I could get done.

The result of that decision so far is a some more Chat With Traders episodes as I drove to the supermarket and 4 trades from the kitchen table. Kitchen Table I hear you ask!? That’s not what advocated in a previous post about trading spaces! No you’re right it’s not and if I was trading real money or looking to make sensible trades I’d be in the office. That said, because it’s been so long since was in the market I decided to crack out the trading platform and get used to pressing the buttons again.

All I’ve tried to do this week is get familiar again with the mechanics of placing trades and I’ve had a quite satisfying time doing it. It’s felt good seeing the market in motion again and seeing how stagnant the Treasury Market has been with the US election. I’ve had up some good feeds and felt like I had a finger on the pulse with the fundamentals. I’ve managed to get a Topstep Trader practice account for a couple of weeks so will be looking to see how I get on with that. I’ll be focusing on cutting losses and on trying to be in the market as much as possible. I’m not looking to try and take profit from the market this week or pass any set of threasholds for Topstep. What I need to do right now is habitualise getting rid of losses really quickly if I’m going to make a success of Scalping.

I’ve read and listened to a lot of content recently, it’s been really insightful but what I’ve learned the most is that whatever it is we are trying to do in order to pursue our goals, we need to be present and not be worried about if and how well we climbing the ladder to profits in the market. Getting used to the idea that the week will allow me a certain amount of time and that my job is to utilise that time as best I can in order to nudge myself closer to where I want to be.

Out of interest I have placed 4 trades in the last 2 days, all were shorts in the ZN. Three of those trades were yesterday and ended down a total of 5 ticks. Mostly this was due to just getting used to the market but on one I took a 3 tick loss and felt myself hoping it would come back. Today I placed 1 trade and won 2 ticks, its obviously election day and the market open was pretty dead, I was shooting for 3 ticks but it was obvious it wasn’t going to come so I was happy to limit out with a 2 tick winner. My initial thoughts this week, commissions stack up! Those first trades, plus the fact I’ve been staring at a 36% loss in my Stocks ISA made me realise I have an issue with cutting losses, so thats what I’m working on this week. I’m just going to be getting in the market and trying to get out quick when it goes against me. I also got out of that shitty HNR trade in my ISA, which felt good!

My final point – practice accounts aren’t for making money. I used to think they were, I used to think they were about proving you were at a certain level of trading. What they are actually for, or what I’m actually going to use this one for is to practice! It’s free entries and free exits, it’s free lessons, it’s a free couple of weeks to try and get the edge, to read the flows, to scratch losers quickly and to try and let winners run. It’s a chance to see how my read of tape is and to try and improve as much as possible before I have to commit capital to the game.

Here’s to getting done what you can.

Some cool new resources I’ve found:

Tweetdeck – Probably the last person on earth to find this but amazing for sorting Twitter feeds.

Chat With Traders Podcasts – great interviews on a par I think with the standard of Market Wizards books, psyched to listen to them all.

Tom Dante – Trader Dante, not only is he a pretty inspirational self made trader he’s got a pretty funny Twitter presence to help with dull days. He also cuts through the shit of being a retail trader which I find highly refreshing.

Timothy Sykes – Another self made inspiration. Interestingly he’s pretty poles apart from Tom Dante as hes much more of a Guru figure with Tom has been known to parody. He does however get you fired up for what individuals can achieve and a great outlook on life and transparency in the markets.

John Grady – not new and I’m a returning customer of his but I’ve gone over his courses again in prep for the February webinar. Some great material and when you sit down to concentrate on whats being discussed it makes so much sense, really enjoying watching these again. John is another self made guy who found his way to trading Prop and latterly his own accounts. Great trader, great tutor.

Cobra Zero – Best tasking 0% Beer I’ve tasted. Handy when the little one is ill and you might have to drive her at night to the Doctors!

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