Weekly Trading Review 12-16th September
Another okay week. Just not feeling it for the last couple of weeks. Don’t feel that I am doing anything wrong, just do not feel 100% in sync with my system or plan and the markets.
As to my goals, I am taking the opportunities that my system is providing me with and keeping my average trade grade for the week above A.
What did I do best this week and how I did I do it?
On Thursday, took a loss, which was a good trade, then took an okay trade and then followed it immediately with a poor trade. Realised that this could be the start of tilt, took a small time out and then traded the rest of the day with Grade A trades recovering the loss, and ended up down small (up a couple of ticks but down a bit once taking commission into account)
What did I do badly this week and what lead me to do it?
I have just not been feeling it the past the couple of weeks, I have good days followed by mediocre days. No big down days but just small down or under performance days.
I could not put my finger on it, just not in the flow.
What is the problem?
On Friday afternoon, I called it quits and decided I was going to apply the (DADA) decision making process to the problem.
As a reminder DADA, stands for Data, Analysis, Decision and Act.
So the focus is, what can be the underlying cause to my general feeling of the under performance?
From examining my trading journal that I can see that the problem started about just over 3 weeks ago.
In that period, there has been increase in trades that either I have not followed my hypo or missed managed trades that I did not take in accordance to my plan.
Also in that period there has been a decrease in the frequency of my mini plans.
And finally, I have noticed am increase in hesitation when I take trades. This is recorded as an entry in grading system.
So what has changed in the past three weeks
a) I have changed my desk around. So that my cheat sheets are directly in front of me. I did this as the bloody things are in plastic pockets and kept sticking to my arm in the warm weather, and getting completely on my tits. So now my main trade plan is off to the left instead of directly in front of me.
b) I added an indicator and rules to my trading system to help with the timing of traders. These where not random additions, I had researched and back tested them.
So no major changes. But and there is always a but.
By not having my trade plan in front of me, it became less of a focus during the day. I can tell this, as the last 2 weeks of trade plans, have a lot less notes and comments scribbled on it then my average trade plan does.
I think that detachment from my overall plan has translated into me being out of sync in what the market is doing, and the increase in number of mistakes in the trades that fit my hypo.
And I think that my increase in hesitation, has been down to the increase in complexity of my system.
I went back over the charts and the past 40 trades that were run under the revised system. Basically I looked at whether it actually helped and the answer is that the majority of the trades, I would have taken anyway with the new rules and the rest were of marginally profitability.
The added value of these new rule where limited and the downside was more decision making and a feeling of stress and confusion.
One of my routines, is that I am feeling confused about what I should be doing in a situation, is to take a break and read my system process from my cheat sheets.
This normally helps but I found that the last 2 times I did it, that it did not really clarify in my mind the process.
I am not sure why I have a reduction of in the frequency of my mini plans. Possibly because I did not feel in sync that I have avoided doing them. I am not sure.
What I am going to do?
It got me thinking about racing, the current boat I am sailing did not a process for discussing the competitors and their positioning around us.
During the race, what the competitors are doing helps decides the tactics but whenever it was discussed, it would result in a rambling conversation for each competitor.
I changed that to a one sentence for each boat, which was sail number (identifying the competitor), whether it was pointing higher, lower or same compared to us, whether it was going faster, slower, same speed compared to us and only if it had changed since last call, the distance in boat lengths using the clock system for direction.
So instead of a rambling conversation, the result was a sentence “Z72, lower, same, six lengths at 5.”
I thought I would apply this sort of thinking to my system. I wanted to strip out the superfluous language, and re write the process so that it was clearer and more defined and focused, and highlighting the highest probability versions of the setup.
My cheat sheets covered 4 sides, including entries and exits, bias and general rules covering trend days etc. Now they are just 2 sides.
The less decisions or less discretionary I can make my system then there is less chance of me fucking it up.
It is important to note that the setups all have a good edge but there are certain times when context and structure line up and these are higher probability. As sometimes, I am fucking around in a good scalp trade and not focusing on the high probability structure intraday swing trade that is forming.
The second thing I am doing is changing the layout of my desk so that the trade plan is once more front and centre. And if the plastic pockets start sticking to my arm then I will just move them. I only check them at certain points during the day and transfer that knowledge to my trade plan or mini plan.
The question is whether moving a trade plan 30 cm to the left can have such a knock on effect. The answer is I do not know but I will make this change and see what happens.
As to the frequency of the mini plans, the simple answer is just get on do them. I know that they have a positive effect on my trading, so I should stop being such a fucking waster and get on with it. Now is not a time to be slacking in my focus.