Finding the right balance between work/studying and trading
In part one we discussed how much time needs to be set aside for trading when you prefer to do it in more or less limited sessions during the day. This article will focus more on how you can combine trading with your work or studies and also scratches the surface of the full time trader’s world.
The advent of mobile applications and cheap(ish) data packages are what allowed people with full-time jobs or active study schedules to trade simultaneously with their main occupation. Apps and internet access provide the foundation for retail traders to stay close to the news and events that push and pull the markets.
This has drastically cut the time needed for both understanding what is generally happening and how price levels have changed since the last time they were checked. With advanced apps being released more and more trading is done on the go, while moving from one place to the other and filling it with something more exciting than the lines of shops or houses.
Some manage to squeeze it between their work tasks, or lectures, but this of course depends on the concentration they require. What can be observed in the last two or three years is a solid rise in trading from smartphones and the vast majority is being done by people who fit it in with other duties. This happens either in combination with trading from home on a laptop/PC or solely through their mobile devices.
Whether you work or study, there is one thing that you have to decide beforehand regarding your trading. It’s choosing between either only trading before and after your main activity, or if you’ll make new trades in between. The first option will require less time and allows for more planning and determining your behaviour in advance if something negative or positive happens.
If you do have time during work or lunch break the app can show you not only a snapshot of price movements on a chart, but also market sentiment and the exact change for the day (or longer period). This speeds up the “review” part and keeps you informed on how things are unfolding. If need be, you can adjust or exit existing trades or enter new ones. The level of concentration for doing these actions is different so choose in advance if you’re going to devote time, as it would be unfortunate if you suffered a large loss because you couldn’t react in time, or if you missed a profitable trade because you had to do something else.
Work can provide various levels of pressure during the day or over longer periods of time. If you trade in and around work, it’s important that you manage your own emotions so that they suit the market. If you are experiencing more stress with an unfinished assignment or in something else, then trading should be set aside. It’s purpose and aim is not to alleviate strain, but to bring in money.
The same goes for studying, although the general case is that the lion’s portion of pressure comes around exam times. With this “confinement” of pressure and rhythm of efforts, you can manage your time better and define periods when you can put in enough time for solid research and follow-up before, during and after the trades. Trading, after all is described as a science in itself (as well as an art) and should be treated as such.
Full-time trading can be seen as an entirely different category when it comes to time spent. Here its allocation takes on another meaning, as this is usually the main income source. Even though the background of a full-time trader can vary between someone who has money and is looking to increase it (either incrementally or with big wins) to someone who starts off with a relatively small amount and is looking to multiply it at a certain rate (in the same fashion). These are of course generalisations, many other backgrounds of full-time traders exist.
With it being a science/art it demands the same time and effort from all types of traders. It becomes a job, but this time things are kind of in reverse. You need to leave yourself room for rest and other activities. Some dedicated traders have been known to bog themselves down in excessive research or to experience uncertainty due to the pressure of making a dynamic activity their primary income.
If a successful formula emerges and profits start to come in, then an unexpected danger might come up and its name is simply greed. Its manifestations can be overtrading and unreasonable increasing of position sizes. To curtail the former threat a schedule can be set in place with anywhere between 4-10 hours of total screen time per day, depending on the trading style. Some might need even less than four hours, but as the saying goes, “some just have it, others have to work at it”.