A customer of mine emailed me today, wanting to know how I manage the boredom and loneliness that can come about from day trading full time as a career. It’s a great question, and something I wish more would-be traders would consider before quitting their day jobs and turning to the markets to make a living.
Working from home in your underpants always sounds wonderful when you read about it in the adverts, but the reality can be quite a shock if you’re used to being surrounded by co-workers. A lot depends on your personality of course, how much you tend to socialise with others. But even if you never speak to another human being all day in your day job, the chances are you at least see other people. Going from that kind of environment to being shut up in your own house all day is quite a big change for anyone to take in.
When I first started out day trading, I used to sit in front of my trading screen all day long. Like most self-employed traders trading their own account, I worked alone. It’s the best way, distractions can be costly. But I must admit I did find it started to get a little boring at times, especially round lunch time when the markets are quieter. Sitting their waiting for trading opportunities to turn up, with nobody to talk to, suddenly seemed less glamorous!
However, once I got better, and got some experience behind me, the problem solved itself. You see, now I just trade for a couple of hours in the morning. An hour or so before the market opens is spent doing some research to pick out the stocks I will be watching for the day. Then I trade them between 10am and mid day, so a maximum of two hours.
During that time I have somewhere between ten and twenty stocks to watch, and they are usually moving a lot (at least they should be, if I did my research right and picked the best ones for the day.) So I’m kept busy keeping track of those.
Concentrating on those fast moving stocks, watching for potential trading setups, and managing any open trades, is enough work to keep me occupied for a couple of hours. There is no time to get bored. If things quieten down, then I simply stop early. Many days I’m all done by 11am.
So the simple answer to my customers question is that I don’t have time to get bored. And I don’t really get lonely for the same reason. Indeed, one of the main reasons I took up trading was so I could spend much less time working, and more time with my family and friends. Only working mornings means I have the rest of the day to do just that.