I have posted before on the subject of how I should be spending my time. For the past couple of weeks I have spent the mornings doing general research and the afternoons keeping up with the news and doing admin. But I have been reading too much and thinking about the markets too little — I have missed the best breakouts of the month because I have waited for better entry points than were ever presented, because of the relaxed attitude to hour-by-hour market moves that a focus on research tends to engender. In my early months, I would have got into those trades. I have focussed on the work and not the objective. It doesn’t help that research feels like work, because one can easily slip into the mindset of thinking that working harder will produce better results.

Dr. Brett Steenbarger, whose excellent blog is sadly being shut down, talks of trading as a “performance activity” analogous to the work of a top athlete. I think there is something in that. One parallel is that in athletics as well as trading it is important to work in the right way. Pushing yourself to do ever more training or ever more research can be counterproductive.

I think that I should be making more effort to live in the right way and keep myself in peak condition to perform well as a trader. That means keeping fit — which I have not been doing, because I have been focussed on work. It also means reading enough to stay informed, but viewing my main activity of the day as making trades in the market, not researching ideas. When no trade opportunities are presented, the opportunity for more research is a bonus.

I still do not have a complete answer to the question of how I should be spending my time, but I am getting closer.

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