Managing Your Trading Time

I know sometimes when I sit down to trade I say to myself I’m just going to take a quick look and do a quick trade. And then three hours later I’m still there! I don’t know if this happens to you, but I wanted to write briefly about the importance of time boundaries around our trading.

Just like the importance of having a trading plan and doing what we say we’re going to do, planning it out ahead of time is important. I think it’s so helpful to be clear of your intentions for when and how long you plan to sit in front of the market.

This is another way of disciplining yourself and planning out exactly what you’re going to do, and taking control of something that you do have control of. You have control over your time and how you’re spending it.

Everything we can do as traders to take control of our self is valuable, since that’s all we can control. We cannot control the market. But we can control the aspects of ourselves.

When I work with traders, part of what they will put into the trading plan is restrictions around trading times. For example you might say, “I don’t trade the open so I’ll start trading at 9:45 AM Eastern time.” Or, “after two hours of trading I noticed that my discipline slips, I start getting tired, and I make more mistakes. So, I trade from 9:30 at the open until 11 or 11:30 and then I stop. Even if I see a good trade setting up I walk away because I know my time at the market is over.”

This seems like a simple concept and yet it can be so important. And not always easy to implement.

Can you relate to those days where you trade in the morning, have a couple of winning trades, only to trade in the afternoon and give it all back? I hear this type of scenario over and over again.

I invite you to think about your own trading schedule and your own trading day and see if you have clear boundaries as to when you allow yourself to trade and when you wrap it up. Also, this may be something that changes over time. It seems to me that as traders get more experience they actually trade for less time.

But it’s really up to the individual and what works for you. So think about what works for you, get conscious about it, and perhaps add it to your trading plan if it’s not there already! I hope this is helpful.

Happy trading,


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