UK enters lockdown

Alistair’s Latest Market Update – What I love and What I Hate about Trading From Home

What I love and what I hate about trading from home.

Trading from home

I have been trading for close to 15 years now, and it’s no surprise that I have traded in some unique places. Some of those places include the beach, the pub (a bad idea) or the train.

And then there are the more socially accepted norms, such as the trading pits, offices, and of course at home.

When it comes to finding your Zen for trading, where you trade can make all the difference in the world.

Being in the environment that maximises your chance to execute your trading plan without distractions is certainly an aspect that many consider.

I prefer to have a place where I can walk into a room and feel driven to look at charts, a room that puts me in the zone.

Throughout most of my life, that room has been as a part of a trading team or on a trading floor.

There is something about being surrounded by other traders with the same goals that help you focus on the tasks at hand.

But not everyone has that luxury unless you qualify to be part of a trading prop desk or brokerage house.

The biggest advantage to trading is the ability to remotely work from wherever you are in the world. Give me a boat and put me in the south pacific with a laptop and an internet connection and I’ll still look at the charts.

Right now, with the lockdowns trying to combat COVID-19, many of us are trading from home.

So, today I thought I’d pass on some wisdom to those who may not have done it for extended periods of times.

What I love about trading from home:

  • The flexibility. I love the flexibility. Being able to trade when you want or chose not to trade is a definite perk. Not to mention the ability to indulge in your favourite foods or to cook in a break is awesome. Everyone loves food.
  • Travel is next to zero, provided you have the aforementioned snacks. You don’t have to leave the house. Your stroll to work can be from your bed to your desk up the hallway. No peak hour traffic, fuel and travel expenses. Win-win, right?
  • If you’re family orientated, like many of us are at this time, then being able to see them throughout your workday is a lot of fun. You learn things about them and yourself you would never expect, creating memories that can last a lifetime.
  • Remember the song by Roxette, ‘Dressed For Success’? Well, when it comes to trading from home, you can get dressed in whatever makes you feel comfortable. No-one is around to judge, except maybe your cat. Those cats are always judging, am I right?
  • You’re in your own space, which can provide increased comfort factors. You may find you are more focused on the tasks at hand and you can make any changes you like within reason.
  • You are your own boss, a luxury not everyone has. You are in charge of your progress.

What do I hate about trading from home? 

Well, hate is a strong word, but the challenges I’ve found to trading at home when you haven’t had experience in doing this can sabotage your profit.

Managing these challenges becomes incredibly important, especially over the long term.

Here are some of the downsides to look out for.

  • Trading or working from home can be incredibly solitary. I am a bit of a social butterfly and going a whole day or a number of weeks without real human interaction can be hard to deal with. This is one of the things I dislike the most about trading from home.
  • Late nights. Trading often involves a lot of late nights, especially if you are day trading. You tend to work on the GMT time zone when the rest of the world is trading. So, depending on where you are, it often goes against our circadian rhythms, leaving you pretty flat some days. Naturally, it can affect your sociability and your mental compacity, so knowing when you need a full night’s sleep is important to function.
  • Trader Talk is completely MIA. Unless you are operating within a team or a skype channel of some kind. Bouncing trade ideas off other traders face to face is almost impossible.
  • Discipline. This is more of comfort vs work thing. When you’re at home, you may find it difficult to get into work mode and so, a challenge of discipline arises. The opposite is also true. Sometimes you can’t switch off. You start dreaming about charts and wake up to check them in the middle of the night. Both sides require the discipline to turn your mind off and on.
  • The discipline ties into needing to be organised. I tend to be a creature of habit and having a routine to keep me focused has always made a big difference. Knowing what you are doing each day and making it apart of your trading plan can help those who struggle with this aspect.

For Example:

  • 3 pm: Review charts
  • 4 pm: Check news sources (note the important ones down)
  • 5 pm – 9 pm: Trading

Education and development all come from you. No one else is there to push you in the right direction, so having a schedule for further education is important.

Naturally, all of these things I hate about working from home can be psychologically challenging to oneself.

It is important to test a few ways out, see what works for you, and monitor how you are feeling with the challenges.

You may even find other challenges I may not have experienced when it comes to trading from home. I would encourage all of you, who may be facing this aspect now with lockdowns, to reflect on each problem as it comes and to not let them creep up.

If you identify it try formulating a solution to help you through it and try a few different methods where needed.

And of course, if you have any questions or perhaps some similar experiences send me a message I’d love to hear from you.

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