Day Trading as a Lifestyle
It takes a lot to do well as a day trader. Without the right resources, support network, brokerage tools, work ethic, and flair for trading, you’ll end up as one of the many day traders who lose money instead of making it.
One of the toughest things to understand about day trading is that it is, in some ways, more than just a job — it’s a lifestyle. To really succeed as a day trader, you’re going to need to do things the right way all day long. You’ll need a good place to work at home and the work ethic that it takes to be working even when you’re not at your “home base.” You’ll need to keep your sanity, too, however — an overworked trader is a dangerous thing. Here’s what you need to know about getting the details right and crafting a true day trader’s lifestyle.
Your “battle station”
Most day traders work from home. That sounds like a wonderful and laid-back thing — and, for some people, it is. But you have to be careful. You can’t let working from home ruin your productivity. You have a lot of distractions at home, and it can be tempting to let your professional standards relax when no bosses are looking over your shoulder.
Insist upon professionalism in your home office. Carve out a separate space for work. Set up your “battle station” for trading — you may want to test out a multi-monitor setup with lots of trading screens, and you’ll definitely want a computer with some power under the hood. Ideally, keep your work computer free of any games or distractions. With the right computer battle station, you can have your brokerage app open next to stock charts and resources like a Forex scalping PDF guide — and everything will be available at a glance.
Try to set up a real routine for getting down to work. Shower, get dressed, and do other things that clue your body and mind into the fact that you’re going to work — even if you’re not really “going” anywhere.
Working from anywhere (and everywhere)
Your home office should be a separate space that is just for work. But let’s not kid ourselves: You’re going to end up working on the go, too. Make sure that you have reliable mobile devices with your brokerage app on them. Carry them everywhere! You can even take them on your workouts by using a pouch from a brand like MyPhonePouch.
Just be wary of leaving positions open while you drive or do other things that will keep you from checking your phone. You need to be locked in while you’re trading! On the flip side, you also need to protect your work/life balance.
Balancing your life, work, and mind
Work is important, but it’s not everything. Your day trading lifestyle relies on your ability to work hard, but it also relies on your ability to take it easy sometimes.
If you are constantly on the clock, especially in a high-stress career like day trading, then you are going to suffer from burnout. And if you’re dealing with burnout, then you’re going to put yourself at risk. Symptoms of burnout include fatigue and difficulty focusing. Those are very, very bad things to have going on when you’re trying to succeed in the fast-paced world of day trading.
Know when it’s time to close out your positions and take a walk. Take vacations when you can, and focus on your mental health through practices like talk therapy and meditation. Keeping an even keel is essential in a stressful line of work like day trading, so don’t forget about your personal mental health. Caring for your soul and your mind is a key part of the day trading lifestyle.