With things going so well with my trading, I'm thinking of taking the blog in a slightly different direction. I will still always update if anything of interest happens with my trading but unless I have either a drastic downturn or massive upturn, there isn't a lot to left to say in detail about my own trading. I'll probably be writing more about my thoughts on the tennis in future. Having this blog has really helped me to become a better trader in terms of recording my mistakes and thoughts about how to improve. But now, its role is maybe best served as a way of keeping me focused.
One of the
things I still struggle with the most is maintaining concentration for
long periods. When you trade for 8 hours a day almost every day, it's
very hard not to lose focus and that can have a severe effect on your
trading. The temptation is always there to have a surf on the web, check
emails and Facebook and Twitter etc but I find all that detrimental to
my trading. I have several techniques for dealing with that, (such as
stretching, music, taking a break) but often, it's a lack of varied
mental stimulus that is the real issue. Whilst the general Internet can
be too distracting, blogging at least keeps me mentally on the right
page, as I'll still be writing about trading and tennis. But getting too involved in my posts has, in the past, actually distracted me too much from trading. So it may be
that I decide to write more bite-sized posts but more frequently, as a
way of aiding my focus.
I would say that if one factor is going to prevent me from continued success, it will be a lack of focus. When I'm 100% 'on it' and mentally prepared, I rarely make mistakes. But I know that it's not possible to be 100% focused all day, every day. Coming to terms with this and then finding ways to manage a drop in or lack of focus, has been an on-going battle for a long time now. I feel it's the aspect of my trading that remains the biggest stumbling block (now that my mindset is much stronger) and so I'll be working on that goal more than any other during May. My plan is as follows:
1. A complete ban on all Internet-based distractions during a trading session.
2. A proper break of at least 20 minutes each day, where I do something not related to trading.
3. No trading qualifying matches on a Sunday (finals only).
4. Switch off completely from trading once the session is over - no extra note-taking, reading or analysis.
5. Learn to catch any loss of concentration earlier and take action - either exercise, take a break or listen to some music.
6. If I start to get bored and need extra stimulus, make some tennis / trading related notes for possible use on the blog.
7. If I still cannot focus despite all the above, stop trading for the entire day.
No. 7 is a completely new addition and something I've only just decided to try. I've always traded with the attitude that I want to watch as many games as possible to allow me as many possible opportunities to make money. I now realise that there is no need for me to trade this way. My risk-reward ratio is strong enough that I only need to win a handful of trades a week to make a hefty profit, so I don't need to use this 'scatter-gun' approach. I need to be going more for quality rather than quantity and this means that I don't need to trade as many games as I have been. This is great focus-wise, because if I am not 100% on any given day, it won't matter so much if I miss a few matches. In the past, I would have fretted about missing games and forced myself to trade even when I wasn't mentally prepared. Now, I won't be afraid to just take the entire day off if need be.
If I can improve the consistency of my focus levels, I'm positive I will improve the consistency of my trading - and ultimately, the consistency of my profit.
OFF COURT BEAUTY World Number 144, Vitalia Diatchenko of Russia: