What is the Plan and Focus for 2017 – Changes

What is the Plan and Focus for 2017 – Changes

Over the Christmas break, I spent a lot of time reviewing and analysing my 2016 performance. So before moving on to what I tend to change and what my focus will be. It will be good to go through a general summary of what worked well and what I did poorly.

2016

What I did well in my Trading

1. My levels where I intended to do business overall were very good.

2. My context read was generally good to very good.

3. My consistency has improved compared to previous years. Though it nowhere near where I want it to be.

What did I do poorly?

1. I am not trading my levels within my framework of context and stats particularly well.

2. Whilst my consistency has improved, I am still having problems with decision fatigue at the end of session and accumulative fatigue over the long periods (3 months approximately)

3. Micro management is a problem that ebbs and flow thought out the year. See 1.

The whys

For 1 and 3

Why am I not trading my levels within the framework of my context and statistics?

I am too focused on the levels. Going through my previous reviews and study’s, it has been about narrowing down what levels, triggers etc. I have spent very little time working on what regime the market is in, and how these levels play in to the stats I have and my generally good context read of the market.

Why am I focusing on my levels?

I am trading the reaction as that has me in my comfort zone and keeps my fear of loss under control.

Also, my constant focus in prep and homework is on levels thus it natural that this becomes a focus of my trading day.

For 2.

Why am I suffering decision fatigue?

As my focus is so much on getting in as close to where I am wrong and I miss the trade, these causes this then causes me to worker harder to find a second entry or an alternative setup. When an entry in to the original trade within my context would have been much simpler.

Too much discretionary in my trading generally leads me to end of day fatigue.

Too much time staring at charts where I know I have no edge.

Summary

My weakest link in my trading is me and that needs to stop.

2017

My focus for 2017 is to make me the least important part of my trading system.

I am going to do this

By breaking down every part of my trading system and making it more systematic on all levels. This will strip even more of the discretionary side of my trading out, thus reducing decision fatigue. I do not have to catch every move, but I need to catch every move that my trading system tells me to within the frame work of my context / stats.

If I do not get a set up then fine, but my triggers are so discretionary that it requires a lot of focus to take the trades.

I find the blind trades a lot less stressful over time, the hard work in the blind entries is deciding which level to take blind.

So, by getting more systematic or black and white in these parts of my trading, will reduce the amount of decision making.

I am not just blinding changing my process for these. I have been learning to code trading systems in RT Investor, so that I can break down each set up / trigger and back test to see if these have an edge.

I am going to focus on the setups that bring the best return and stop trying to be a generalist.

I am going to focus on the sub-sessions and market regimes that I know my edge works the best in.

I am going to spend more time working on improving my integration of my stats and context into my trading. Again, though systematic process.

I am going to improve my taking of regular breaks over the weeks to ensure that I am maintain my focus.

I have broken down the above areas of focus into more specific outcome goals, then process goals followed by performance goals.  This will enable me to work towards the bigger focus with some consistency and feedback.

Weekly Trading Review – Self Sabotage

Weekly Trading Review – Self Sabotage

Weekly Trading Review – 12th to 16th December

weekly trade review

Summary of Performance

A poor week this week.

Basically, over the last 2 weeks I have managed to fuck up my best every quarter. Whilst I still finished profitable, it has gone from a potential excellent end of year to an under average quarter.

What did I do best this week and how I did I do it?

When I was focused, and following my routines, then my quality of trading was good. But it was the fluctuations between a calm and focused state to an unfocused / distracted / angry trader.

More evidence that my process and routines are the key to my profitability.

What did I do badly this week and what lead me to do it?

I would start off each day focused and on track but slowly over the session. I would find anything to everything would start to irritate me, ranging from a no fill trade / minor computer problem to answering the door to a delivery guy and then this would send me off the deep end and lead to some poor decision making in trades.

Why was I so emotionally unstable?

Basically, it is accumulated fatigue. The long hours I put in each week without a decent break has after a while a negative effect to my trading.

The clues to this starting where in my Weekly Trading Review – Well, that escalated quickly! Post.

And a few traders where even kind and helpful to post these comments

Seorge Goros posted this

Hi Adey,

I believe that similar to the markets our behaviour has a cyclic tendency. Let’s say for simplicity we are either in the zone (happy about our performance, no problems on following up on all our rules, bringing our A-game each and every day, etcetera) or not in the zone (everything just doesn’t seem to work, C-game all over the place).

I wanted to mention the cyclic tendency of human behavior as I think you have dealt with ‘similar’ situations before (http://takingonetradeatatime.com/2016/04/23/weekly-trading-review-17-22-april/#comments and http://takingonetradeatatime.com/2016/06/18/weekly-trading-review-13-17th-june/). I liked your suggested solutions back then, and I think just reading back those posts will give you that little extra kick to get back in following your processes.

And Auh-trader posted this

It’s interesting that you talk about the getting up just a little bit later and it having a knock on effect on pre-market routines – I had this same problem back in the summer, and as you mention it was also a result of accumulated fatigue. I found the best solution (for me anyway), was a decent break away from the screens for a few days doing something completely unrelated to trading. Which I think helps to reset and let our subconscious mind deal with all the accumulated information our brains have not yet fully processed.

I attempted to deal with this problem by going to bed earlier and taking regular breaks.

But this has not helped.

I think the problem, is that once I reach this stage it is too late and more drastic action needs to be taken.

Why did I let myself get so fatigued?

My back ground as a sailor, has instilled a habit of hard work, and an ability to keep pushing though limits. Whilst this is handy skill, I am finding it has negative effects which I have not considered. That whilst racing, there will be an end to the race or on the longer races that take more than 20 days there are periods to catch up on sleep.

I cannot maintain this work rate constantly and retain the same amount of focus. Whilst I take breaks about every 4 months to spend time with the family etc. It is now becoming obvious that these breaks are too far apart to help.

Looking back through my posts and trading journals, it become obvious that about every 3 months, my performance drops till I take a break.

And it is also obvious then when I get to this stage the solutions I put in place are feck all use.

It is not enough to just to be the hard worker in the room, I need to work smarter. In the end, it is all about the results.

I need to have something in place to ensure that I do not get to the over fatigue stage.

It reminds me of physical training. The only solution to over training is to a take a break, and the more over trained one is the long the break. The key is not to get to over trained. The system I used, was that every six weeks I used do a light week of training.

Therefore, starting from the first day of trading next year. I will implement the following

Every sixth week, I will do a light week of trading.

Where I will take one complete day off from trading.

Where I will catch up on sleep and do something totally non-related to trading.

I will call an end to sessions that are not productive. Quite often I can tell that the AM or PM session is not conducive for my edge, instead of sitting there using that to get more screen time. I will do some else for that session.

If I have 2 limit down days with a space of six trading days, then I will take a complete day off from trading.

I will also look at going back to do some side consultancy on the racing front. As this was interesting and the change was as good as a break.

Weekly Trading Review – Ball of Confusion

Weekly Trading Review – Ball of Confusion

Weekly Trading Review 14-18 November

weekly trade review

Summary of Performance

Overall an okay performance that sits within the mid of the variance range for my system expectancy.

The majority of the errors this week and missed trades once again come down to issues with my scalping and IDS system.

Average grading was B, this was all due to conflict between my 2 systems and mismanaging trades, especially on 3 trades.

Last week Goal

The main goal of last few weeks is to manage the 60 min level trades off the 15 min chart and to ensure that correct targets where placed and managed correctly.

How did I do

Overall poorly. Still very inconsistent with this side.

What did I do best this week and how I did I do it?

The week demonstrated for me that, I need to have a process, it must be simple with as few grey areas as possible and there cannot be conflicts.

The new trade plan layout is easy to follow, and highlights the important IDS trades at the time of writing. But still need to work on the amount of time it takes to do.

Other than the conflict between my 2 systems and the problems that caused, my focus and trading went well.

What did I do badly this week and what lead me to do it?

My intra day swing system, came into conflict with the scalping system, a few times this week and all it did was cause hesitation and confusion about what I should be doing.

Basically, I had the opportunity to take a scalp or IDS trade, the problem was both entries where at the same price but the stops and targets where at different prices.

The result was that I missed one trade, which I had I patiently waited hours for.

The others I end up inconsistently managing them and overall these trades combined were losers. But if taken as IDS or scalps they profitable over this small sample.

All the changes to my process and routine to enable me to highlight the bigger opportunities have been productive, but now the problem is execution.

There is no problem when the scalp system is in sync with the IDS system and gives me an entry with a similar stop but different targets. I can take these trades and I have been working on my micro management issues with these trades.

But occasionally, the system clash especially on the wider levels. Where I might get a scalp entry with a 5 tick stop, and an IDS entry which has a 13 tick stop, and my process is unclear on how to handle this situation.

I did try and take both but just ended up badly managing both trades.

So I have decided to move all the IDS trades to my spread betting account, and I will monitor and play these separately from my futures account.

I will be taking both types in the future, but on different platforms, and I working on this principle that this separation will help me manage each trade appropriately.

Whilst my journal can handle these IDS trades, and it easy to compare the performance to the scalps trades. I have also made the decision to put these trades into their own journal. This is to help with the feeling of trading these 2 as separate systems.

Weekly Trading Review – Planning and Execution

Weekly Trading Review – Planning and Execution

Weekly Trading Review 7-11 November

weekly trade review

Summary of Performance

Overall a good performance that sits within the upper variance of my system expectancy.

Reduction in error trades and missed trades. The missed trades saw a large reduction in the no fills due to the implantation of my front running rules, as discussed in last week’s review.

The majority of the errors and missed trades come down to micro management issues for the intraday swing trades.

Average grading was A, the trades where it was not A, again micro management issues on the IDS trades.

Last week Goal

The main goal of last few weeks is to manage the 60min level trades off the 15min chart and to ensure that correct targets where placed and managed correctly.

How did I do

Overall poorly. Still very inconsistent with this side.

What did I do best this week and how I did I do it?

The side effect of focusing on my micromanagement issue, is that my lower time frame trades are being handled better and my profitability improved last week on these trades and I continue to maintain that improvement.

My focus and process following overall went well on all the LTF trades.

What did I do badly this week and what lead me to do it?

I implemented all the steps from last week’s review and this helped in one way but not directly. It shows that whilst I can clearly identify good opportunities for a larger target, that does not translate into a direct and simple to follow execution plan.

Without this plan I ended up either not taking the trades because of the increase risk (which I was meant to reduce size on) or took them as LTF trades, which then scored a low grade due to incorrect targets etc.

I think that the root of the problem, is that I am planning the trades off the correct level but using the LTF chart for the planning, thus the levels and structure on this chart is influencing me, when it comes to targets and stops.

So what am I going to do.

1) Keep the review process the same.

2) It is not enough to manage the trade on the 15min after entry.

The trade should be planned on the 15min from start to finish using my RR tool to help with stops / targets and last entry point, etc

3) I am revising the way I do my main trade plan and intraday mini plan.

Instead of 3 hypos, I am moving to listing the best 1 to 3 (if there is any) IDS trade opps with, where I am wrong, target and last entry point (LET) and preferred entry point (PENT), along with type of entry.

I will then list any LTF opp, with the same information.

I have adjusted my grading to reflect whether I followed this process.

Weekly Trading Review – A matter of inches

Weekly Trading Review – A matter of inches

Weekly Trading Review 24th October to 4th November

This review will cover 2 weeks as I was spending time with the clan the last weekend.

Performance

A okay to good performance over the last 2 weeks, with one week in the lower bands of expected return and the second week in the upper bands of the variance for my system.

Overall Goals

My goal of increasing the number of trades I take, if there are valid opportunities, was hit for both weeks on average. With a corresponding decrease in missed trades. Still a large amount of missed trades but definitely an improvement there. And some of these missed trades are a knock on effect of changes I have made.

My average grade of my trades is A, with a couple of days with C/D averages, these where driven by mistakes in micro management and target setting. As I am now punishing myself with highly weighted negative scores if I break certain rules. I am using this as intraday score keeping system to help focus on dealing with my micro management.

General Notes

7 errors over 2 weeks. 6 to do with micro management issues. This cost of these errors was a total of 310 euros per contract.

Last week Goal

The main goal of last few weeks is to manage the 60min level trades off the 15min chart and to ensure that correct targets where placed and managed correctly.

How did I do

Okay. A big improvement over the past few weeks, feeling more comfortable and less desire to micro managed but I would say I have improved but not dealt with the problem.

What did I do best this week and how I did I do it?

Overall my best this , was following my general process with good focus. The goal of dealing with my micro management, whilst still a problem with my trades off the 60min levels, has actually helped me with my management of the scalps. I am setting better targets and managing these trades better.

Need to continue with the focus on these areas.

What I am doing to help improve this is as follows

1) Process, simplified how I identify IDS trades and included that process within my market analysis process.

2) Pre Market. Marking up all the potential intraday swings, in my mini plan and with alerts on the chart.

3) Updated my grading system to make it clearer what are the problem areas in my management.

3) Aftermarket review, include an extra section on the IDS trades, focusing on whether I identified before entry, correctly or no, it was an IDS trade, did I choose the correct targets and stops and how I played it. And finally what clues / structure beforehand help me to identify these sort of trades better in the future.

What did I do badly this week and what lead me to do it?

The no fill data collection is still ongoing. Which is giving me good indications that the average mode of the no fills is 2 ticks (well 1 ticks but plus 1 to guarantee a fill). I had started to incorporate this into my trading from last week.

One thing I did notice, that doing this was increasing my stop by 2 ticks, thus increasing my risk above my traditionally average stop size on a few setups. I have looked at the R:R and expectancy for this and it still remains favourable.

But I found it has made my uncomfortable in taking some setups and there has been an correspondence increase in the missed trader that I did not take aka chicken trades. Trades I should take but don’t.

As my account is not at the size, where I can alter position size, on increased stop of 2 ticks, to keep my risk constant. If I reduced size it means a drop in risk.

I have decided that on these trades rather than letting my emotions take over in the moment and not taking the trade.

I will take it on the smaller position size.

The reasoning behind this is, is that I can collect live data with this position size, prove to myself that this matches by testing data and then increase size. Thus providing to the emotional side of me, a logical reasoning to why I should not be chickening out of these trades.

Weekly Trading Review – Missing you

Weekly Trading Review 10-14th October

Performance

An up week, but still trying to get to grips with micro management issues. The plan to manage on the 15 min time frame, highlighted a couple of grey areas in which trades this applies to. I will work on this over the week end.

A slight increase in errors this week, which I will look to not repeat next week and but will keep an eye on.

Overall Goals

The number of opportunities and the orders placed was a good ratio, missed very few opportunities when I was at my desk. But the number of fill trades compared to no fills had a massive jump this week.

My average grade is B, this is partly due to the change in my grading system to reflect my current goals of reducing micro management and picking correct targets.

Last week Goal

The main goal of last week was to manage the 60min level trades off the 15min chart and to ensure that correct targets where placed.

How did I do.

Not particularly well. Very inconsistent. Areas to work on, exactly which trades are managed on the what time frame.

And then the next step is to stop being a feckin fairy and get on with it.

What did I do best this week and how I did I do it?

Good focus and good read this week. Time went quickly and I felt in tune with the market even when it was choppy. My mini plans reflected this with good setups.

What did I do badly this week and what lead me to do it?

The micromanagement problem which already has an ongoing programme to deal with this. So nothing to add to this at the moment.

The other major thing is the missed trades and no fills. I had orders in the market at the appropriate level so the number of missed trades due to having no order in dropped massively, and one of the missed was less than 2 minutes into the market open.

But no fills have been slowly increasing.

What is the problem?

Of course, the no fills are skewing my results, as all the no fills are winners, as to be a loser it has to fill.

Even if I reduce my no fills by 20% it would make a significant difference to my results and that is even if I still micromanaging the trades like a knob head.

So it is definitely a problem, that can yield good results.

Why do I have this problem?

At the moment I am not sure.

Is it fear of losing that I place my order in the wrong place?

Is it that I am trying to enter so close to where I am wrong, to get the best risk reward that I just end up not getting filled?

What I am going to do?

2 weeks ago, I started a new data set of my trades, with a few changes in the grading to reflect my current goals and how I track levels and bias.

I also changed how I am monitoring the no fills. I know also monitor where was my order in comparison to where it should be, and by how many ticks my order would have to be moved to guarantee a fill, what my stop was on each order and what was the ultimate MFE.

Once I have collected enough data, I should be able to see how much I am missing the fill by.

With this information, I can then look at the increase in risk (if I keep my stop where it is) and compared that against the potential reward by looking at the ultimate MFE.

I am also, going to include an individual review of each no fill trade on playback, with screenshots and notes, so that I can see if there are any alternative strategies that can be employed. I will do this once a week.

What am I going to practice on?

I am going to skip the deliberate practise this week on the order flow. Instead I am going to work my way through the review process on the backlog of no fill trades. As I feel there is greater potential there for reward, compared to the amount of time invested.

Weekly Trading Review – Live. Die. Repeat

Weekly Trading Review 3-7th October

Performance

An up week with under the typical average number of trades and below the minimum expected return for my system, which takes into account the typical variance over time.

Overall, an under performance this week.

Looking though my trades, 2 issues stand out. My trade management and missed trades. I will discuss this in more depth in the sections below.

Overall Goals

To take an average of A trades across the week, and to take an average of 16 trades per week (if the opportunities arise).

My average grade dropped to B across the week. The problem was with trade management which also ties in with my under performance compared to my expected return.

I took 15 trades which is slightly under the typical average, and there were 5 trades missed. Out of these 5 trades, 3 trades I could have taken. One trade I chickened out of and the others, I did not have orders in (I should have as these where strong levels).

Last week Goal

To improve the amount of sleep I was getting, to enable me to stay focused longer in the market.

This went well, I ensured that the majority of nights, I had at least 1.5 hrs between trading related activities and me hitting the sack. I was getting off to sleep a lot quicker.

I still need to work on getting to bed slightly earlier, but a few things cropped this week which interfered with that. But that should not be a problem this week.

What did I do best this week and how I did I do it?

Focus and routine where a lot better, the better quality sleep helped. I felt a lot more in tune with the market, my hypo and context. My mini plans where clear and with defined trades and targets.

Happy with that side.

Felt I was back on form with this side of the trading. Which is the first whole week, I have felt that since my break.

What did I do badly this week and what lead me to do it?

I had 2 issues this week. Trade management and missed trades. The trade management has 2 sides to it. One side ties in with the missed trades and the other is more of an adjustment to my trading process.

Trade Management Issue 1

The first issue is that, it is becoming clear that my current trade management scheme for trades off the bigger levels, i.e levels that are on the 60min and Daily, are not allowing the trades enough room to breathe. Current trade management is once the first scale has been hit then to trail the stop until the second target is hit.

A breakeven trade for me is any trade that is stopped out with a return between -0.4r to +0.4r. Which tends to be trades that hit the first scale and then the 2nd position gets taken out before it hits the second target.

The stats show that a lot of my breakeven trades, that are off levels that are designated 60mins plus, go on to hit the second target.

I will be experimenting with a looser trade management scheme on trades, that are off these bigger levels. Basically not trailing the stop until the evolving risk to return drops to under 0.5 return against risk.

Trade Management Issue 2 and Missed Trades

My second management problem ties in with the missed trades. All my trades that where less than an A grade where due to breaking my trade management rules (which is different to the above, I followed the rules in those cases).

The missed trades which I could have taken, are due to not having orders at levels when I should have.

What is the problem?

I am getting out of trades due to reading the order flow off the DOM, and not letting the trade play out.

Why do I have this problem?

Last time I spoke to FT71, he told me that my trading style is trading not to lose, rather than a play to win mindset. This has been something I have been working on ever since.

Whilst I have made improvements on this side, it is still a weak area of my trading. I am certainly not maximising my performance.

It is embarrassing to even discuss this again in my blog, as I feel my progress is glacier at times on this side.

Of course it ties in with my fear of loss. I currently have a survivor’s mentality, where the focus is minimising the downside rather than a winner’s attitude where the focus is on maximising the upside.

The survivor’s mentality is of particular use, when the outcome can result in injury or death, but not so much when the worst can happen is that I lose money.

What I am going to do?

1) I am going ensure that there is always one long and one short order in at the next applicable level. And if there are not filled on the first test then they cannot be pulled until a second test or price hits the target without me. I used to do this, but stopped on after one bad experience. The stupid thing is that I have a system in place to minimize this happening again, but doing the orders has slipped from my routine.

2) If the trade is off a 60min plus level then once I have been filled, I will then close the lower timeframe chart and cover the DOM and manage the trade on the 15min chart, at least until we get within a few ticks of the target.

FT71 suggested I do this but I could never bring myself to do it.

But after collecting stats on the consequences of not managing my trades correctly, i.e that the amount of return I have left on the table, obviously taking into account the losers, is making a stand out case of needing to get make more improvements on this side.

What am I going to practice on?

This weekend I will practise on replay, a minimum of 2 order flow setups from the order flow practice group, 2 flow trades and 2 trades off the 60min levels, with entry off the Dom and management on the 15min.

Weekly Trading Review 12-16th September

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?

Data

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.

Analysis

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.

Resources for Building a Trade Journal

Resources for Building a Trade Journal

Last week, I posted an article walking through my trade journal, looking at what stats I track and how I lay it out.

This week I am going to go though some resources that I used to learn excel and build my own journal.

Before we start, one of the questions to ask ourselves is do we really need to build own when there are pretty good commercial alternatives. For example, Edgewonk and Tradervue

Pro’s

Learn Excel.

This will enable us to build custom mini journals to track specific data to answer specific questions that the main commercial journals may not cover.

The process of building the journal and learning the formula gave me a deeper understanding of what the stats are actually showing.

It is free. Yay.

Con’s

Takes time to learn Excel and build the journal.

This can be done in bite size pieces but it still takes time. Around the beginning of the year, I re wrote my journal to tidy it up, turn the data into tables and re produced the stats pages using slicers.

That took me 2 solid days to reproduce. So it is an endeavour at times, but that may be just me.

As a home trader working alone, I have to be responsible for so many areas, preparation, trading, review, research and analysing.

Then there is the goal setting, the review of the best practices / processes on top of that.

I constantly find that there is so many things to do, that I have to prioritise all the time, just to get some semblance of work / life balance.

The question is, does learning how to build your own trade journal take you closer to your ultimate goal?

Only you can answer that.

If you are not familiar with Edgewonk, one of the commercial trade journals, this is an excellent alternative to building a journal. Version 2 has just come out of beta and I will be running that in parallel and will do a review of this trade journal down the line.

Read my Edgewonk Trade Journal Review

MFE/MAE Tracker

The one thing that Edgewonk doesn’t track that well, at this current time and that could change with Version 2, is the MFE and MAE as a way of optimising targets and stops and an example of my using this data is in my article How I am using my trade journal to improve my targets.

Trade Journal

I have put a quick video tutorial on how to build a basic version of my own MFE / MAE tracker.

 

Download the Excel file used in the video

Learning Excel to Build a Trade Journal

The first resource I used to build my own trade journal was though a video produced by Adam Grimes in his free trading course.

http://adamhgrimes.com/TAAS/the-course/

I recommend the whole course as it has some excellent exercises in it.

Module 3 has the video in it on how to build a trade journal.

Then the following YouTube channels where essential in learning how to write formula’s and how to use pivot tables / slicers.

MyExcelOnline

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMaVSMuAqV5j9WRdUz9UQfw

Excel is Fun

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkndrGoNpUDV-uia6a9jwVg

Trade informed

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNVfBUEw7yM7E0eSkhXjZ4A

Google Search

The last resource I used is Google Search. If I could not get a formula or logical statement to work, then I would type my question in to Google and preface with excel. That worked well a lot of the time.

Any questions or requests, please drop me a comment below and I will do my best to help.

Weekly Trading Review 5-9th September

Weekly Trading Review 5-9th September

Weekly Trading Review 5-9th September

Another quiet week leading up to the ECB on Thursday then volatility and a trend day on Friday.

Better focus for the majority of the week, apart from Friday PM. Where I trading when I should not have.

weekly trading review

What did I do best this week and how I did I do it?

Followed my plan, kept to my routines, kept the average grade of my trades above A.

What did I do badly this week and what lead me to do it?

On Friday just before the US session started, I had some bad news regarding an outside matter, which threw my focus. I found I was unable to focus on trading and problem solving.

I knew that I should stop trading as it was unlikely that I would perform at my best. But as this was the first day in a long while that there was decent volatility in the market, I did not want to miss out.

I decided to take an hour out, go for a walk and then mediate and then come back to the market. I normally exercise at this time of day but that routine was broken due to my sciatica playing up.

I came back feeling better and more focused but the issue was stilling playing on my mind. In the end I was down for the day having been up in the AM session.

The positive of this I was did not go full on tilt, I did not take any old set up, I stuck to my process. The main problem was FOMO, I entered twice too early and got stopped out, only to re-enter and get winning trades. This coupled with 2 losses and not a single fill on any of my short trades meant that I ended up with a down day which was just over 1 R.

So not a massive problem, it is not like a blew a weeks or months profits.

What is the problem?

The problem was FOMO, fear of missing out.

Why do I have this problem?

This problem makes a change from my normal problem of fear of losing. I knew I should not be trading and under normal conditions I would not, but as the market conditions have been pretty poor for a while, I was desperate to get back into the deep end.

What I am going to do?

The last time I traded with outside problems, I went full tilt and hit my daily stop loss. So there is an improvement in how I handled this situation.

As I do not have fixed rules in place for when I have outside news that results in my not being able to concentrate. I will change my trading plan to incorporate a routine to follow to ensure that I can trade at my best.

The routine will include taking a break and redoing my morning routine. If my first trade after that has any errors, then I stop trading and repeat the morning routine and if then the next trade has any errors then I stop trading.