Another interesting problem for me in this weekly trading review. During the week, I had this small conversation with Jared Tendler, the author of The Mental Game of Poker and The Mental Game of Poker 2. Which if you have followed my previous reviews, then I highly recommended these books.
Using my trader profile, I have a list of traits that I have associated when I am trading at my best and when I trade at the worse. I have been closely watching when I start display traits that are not conducive to my trading, so that I can apply strategies to counter these traits. Which is working okay, but is still a reactive strategy, i.e if I display these traits I then apply a strategy to counter.
But after that conversation, I have started to look at the situations when I slip from my focus zone and A game to B or C game traits.
So that I can then be on the lookout for the situations that generate these traits so that I can start to try these and counter these traits before I starting taken lower grade trades.
What did I do best this week and how I did I do it?
I followed my process and was again more active in the market relatively to the amount of time I traded (more on this in a moment), and my trades this week had a better win rate and exp.
I had a similar day to last week, where my read of the market was wrong and I blinding followed my process, ignoring my gut that something was wrong. I noticed this a lot early than last week and managed to nip it in the bud earlier. This allowed me to recover by following my process, fairly quickly and have a good end to the week.
After the above conversation with Jared, I looked at all the instances where my focus and my traits slipped from A game to B or C game.
The most common link to the majority of these instances seems to come after I take my break and partly into the afternoon, I noticed that in my day journal that my mini plans become less frequent, that I feel distracted, less focused and tired.
I decided as a short term strategy that I would stop trading as soon as I started to get distracted, the warning signals are reading twitter, reading news items on the internet or general internet browsing, etc. When I am focused, I might check twitter once or twice a session, and never browse the internet.
This result of this was that I did not trade in the afternoon of Thursday and Friday. Overall this decreased my trades per day, by an average of 1 per day over the whole week, but my winning percentage and expectancy went up. Obviously with the caveat, that this is a very small sample size.
One thing that was noticeably that this weeks results whilst positive, where statistically at the top end of my average returns, but with less trades and less sessions on average.
Therefore whilst the optimum result is to reduce these non focused sessions to as close to zero as possible (as an average), the second best option for my results, is to continue to trade as normal, but as soon as I start feeling distracted and cannot get back on track, then I will stop trading.
A quick note to this, I absolutely hated not trading the afternoon sessions for 2 days, made me feel like a loser and a slacker, even though statically it is better for my bottom line. Which again reinforces that what we want and what we feel, does not always correlate to what is best for our trading.
The next step is to work on a strategy to start that reducing these moments.
What did I do badly this week and what lead me to do it?
I am having problems implementing my three things, from last week’s trade review, consistency. I made a start and I struggled during the week, obviously this has not been helped with my focus problems. It is hard enough implementing my known processes when I am distracted and non-focused, let alone add new solutions.
I am going to concentration on the non-focus problem, I am going to still keep implementing these new process, but the first step is to get the focus under control and then see what the consistency of the new process implementation is. And only judge the quality of my implementation of these new processes when I am focused and in the zone.
What is the problem
Early into the PM session, I am starting to lose focus and get distracted which leads to poor chart reading, lack of mini plans and then even poorer execution.
Why do I have this problem?
I have always suffered with this problem to some extent, but have managed to keep it under control by going to bed early and taking regular breaks, so what has changed over the past three weeks that could have a knock on effect to make this a issue.
1) I restarted my fitness programme back in April and have slowly been building intensity and volume over this time as I have gotten fitter. This could be having a knock on effect. As I am knackered after a HIIT session, and that normally effects by ability to concentrate or even hold a pen properly for a good 20-30 minutes afterwards.
2) I used to have a cup of Bulletproof coffee for breakfast a long time ago and I found that it was an excellent way of keeping me focused during the day. But this all had to stop since when I found that milk was adversely affect my stomach and giving my other problems, so have since last year gone dairy free.
After reading this article from a trader at Stage 5 about the benefits he found using Bulletproof coffee. I decided three weeks ago, to start it this routine again but without using diary and only using cold pressed coconut oil.
Again I am having excellent results in the AM session, but could this exaggerated lack of focus, be because I am hitting an energy wall in the afternoon session.
What I am going to do
As I am not sure what the cause of this problem is, I am going to only change one of the 2 things that I have been doing differently over the past 3 weeks.
I am not that keen on reducing the exercise, because this had little adverse effect on my trading in the past, and I was training with a lot more intensity and volume I am now.
The Bulletproof coffee has a positive effect on my AM session, so I am to have a second cup of bulletproof coffee at around 1230 after exercising to see what effect this has on my focus during the afternoon session.
I am not too bothered about the calories, as I never eaten breakfast, rarely eat lunch and have a big fuck off meal in the evening. This has been my modus operandi for the past 30 plus years. So with the introduction of these added calories, I will reduce the portion size of my evening meal to just a fuck off size.
I have also done a cheat sheet of when I should be using my logical statements during the session, along with a reminder of my three new execution processes.