I believe there is a fine line between working hard and over working yourself. The difference between the two is that working hard will yield good results faster but over working will cause you to burn out, unable to concentrate and yield poorer results in the long term.
It is very important in my opinion and I speak from my own personal experience that you take one day out of your week to do no work-related activities, especially when it comes to trading. I will explain the benefits this will have over the long term in both your trading career and other careers you may have.
In the beginning of any journey it is necessary that you put all of your effort, time and energy into it as I believe it gives you the best chance of success because you are able to achieve certain goals faster. Think of a rocket ship initially launching into space think of how much force, fuel and manpower is needed to get the rocket initially off the ground but when the thrusters dethatch and the rock is in the air the hardest part is over. The initial lift is the hardest part of the whole journey as it is the part that requires so much but when in the air the rocket only then needs to follow its co-ordinates to get to its destination and it requires far less effort, fuel and manpower.
Your journey is very similar to the rocket because you know exactly where you want to arrive at (The end goal) and you know how to do it but what you don’t want to do is burn through your whole fuel supply too early before you arrive at your destination.
It is true at the beginning of your journey a lot your energy, time, effort and resources will be demanded from you depending on how fast you want to see positive results.
However, it is not sustainable to keep working at the same work rate months into the future as what you once did at the beginning. The reason for that is because you will burn through your fuel supply very quickly and your fuel supply is ‘Motivation’.
At the beginning the reason we can give so much of ourselves to one task or goal is because typically we are excited and our motivation is at its highest point as we are starting something ‘New’ and so we just go all in because we are only at the beginning.
That same level of excitement and motivation will decrease over time as the weeks and months go by as we begin to realise it might take longer to achieve our goal than what we initially thought, we have set backs and we make mistakes. So our level of enthusiasm and motivation will begin to decrease over time as what was once ‘New’ is no longer but instead just normal.
Now when it comes to trading, I believe it is even faster to burn out as trading is all psychological. The only physicality to trading is walking to your office or desk and pressing a ‘Buy or Sell’ button to execute your trades.
Learning to trade, live analysis, taking losses, handling wins and managing your own daily routine all comes down to you.
How you then manage all of them factors will dictate your performance and it is a lot of mental effort and energy.
What we need to remember more importantly is that you also have a life outside of trading; A wife, husband, kids, work commitments or anything else that could be taking up part of your day and they all require energy, time and effort.
When you are trading full-time or part time I believe it’s important you take at least one day out of your week to do something else other than trading and any other work related tasks you have.
The reason why is because it gives you that much needed mental break and distraction to think about something else other than the price charts, candlesticks, back testing or draw downs but to also pay attention to what else is in your life so you don’t neglect the different parts as it is very easy to do just that!
If you don’t take some time for yourself to relax then you aren’t allowing yourself to switch off and over time you may feel frustrated, stressed and unmotivated towards trading.
So each week do something where you are physically stimulated rather mentally, as it gives your mind some time to relax and recharge.
Here is what you can do; Go to the gym, a walk, run, do something with your family or kids (Day out), go to the cinema, bowling or any other activity.
Of course there might be some days where you don’t feel like going out so instead just stay at home watch a film, play Xbox or PlayStation, watch your favourite show or get together with a few friends.
The point is you want to do something once per week where in that day you do nothing trading related to give yourself that needed mental break.
If you don’t you will burn out over time but most people don’t know they are suffering from burn out until they already are. So here are the signs that you definitely need a break from trading or maybe other work commitments too;
· Lack of energy
· Mental fatigue
· Decreased motivation
· Poor performance
· Concentration problems.
If you find that you feel any of these problems than you could be suffering from burnout and I would recommend visiting your doctor to talk about it as these problems will spread into other areas of your life.
At the beginning of your journey you do need to give everything you can but realise this type of work rate is not sustainable and at some point you will need to slowdown.
When we work we want to be efficient by getting the best results as fast as possible but if you are overworked then you will become less efficient taking you much more time for weaker results.
So even if you take one day per week to do nothing work or trading related it then allows you to recover, feel refreshed, energised and motivated to do the best you can for the next 6 days.
I want you to build a sustainable lifestyle where trading is one part but not the whole of your life as it is very important you have other things involved in your life too.
So my best advice for a happy long term trading career where you feel motivated, excited and enthusiastic is to take time away from the charts for the reasons I have already explained!
It all comes down to finding a balance so remember you need to balance trading out with other areas of your life too and not neglect them other areas as it can be very easy to do just that if you aren’t paying attention!
I hope this article helps you understand a topic in trading that isn’t often discussed which is your mental health as that is the most important part because as trading is a mental game after all.
Thanks for reading.