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The importance of downtime in trading
Trading can be intoxicating. It grabs you and holds on tight. When you’re making money there’s a feeling that you need to keep going, that you if you step away you will miss some big opportunity.
When taking losses the pressure builds. There can be an relentless urge to keep going in order to regain what has been lost. This is often a recipe for mistakes and disaster.
When the markets are choppy and trading is slow, patience begins to wear thin. Something is going to happen at any minute. Something big. It has to. And then? That’s right. Patience runs out, leading to mistakes, hopefully not disaster.
Each of these scenarios can keep us glued to our screens. Watching, waiting, if we’re lucky. If we’re unlucky we’re over trading, and likely making mistakes.
The remedy? Sharpen the saw.
Seek continuous improvement and renewal professionally and personally.
Sharpening the Saw means preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have–you. It means having a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual.
“7 Habits of Highly Effective People” — Stephen Covey
One of the reasons trading is so attractive is because of the freedom and flexibility it gives. It can’t be taken for granted. It takes disciplined and hard work. But a well-earned day off helps to sharpen the saw. It renew us. It helps renew our energy and our perspective. It makes us better traders and better people.
Might we miss out on a day of handsome prophets? Sure. But we also may miss out on a day of mistakes and losses.
Scott Redler reminds us almost daily:
So take the time to craft your process and your routine into something you love, not something that you feel like you need a break from. Eat well, get some exercise, and take some downtime. Renew and relax. Sharpen the saw. You’ll be a better and more consistent trader if you do.
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