Help Center Blog Open An Account

Does your trading style change throughout the day based on energy levels and mental stamina?

Lately, I’ve noticed that my trading performance usually fades in the late part of the day.

In the morning I’m generally trying to capture fast, 4-8 tick moves that trade with fluidity. Since I trade order flow on the DOM I can get tired quickly, especially staring for that long.

I do take breaks and use clear eyes regularly, but just can’t keep that focus all day. Which is completely fine I’m not saying I should be able to do that all day.

What I have done is adjust my trading style in the afternoon. I have been at longer-term moves and trades that don’t require as much tick-by-tick focus. The transition from morning to afternoon style can be difficult sometimes.

I wanted to see if anyone has done the same or even traded the same futures contract with completely different holding times. For example, I usually hold trades for only a minute or two, that’s my core strategy. I’d like to look at adding longer swing trades on the same instrument, es mini.

Hopefully, the time spent on the swing trades would provide more feel of that market and get me looking at other important information to better both styles of trading.

What’s your opinion on this and have you implemented a strategy like this before?

4 Likes

I’m used to watching screens intently for long periods, so physically I don’t have any issues.

However, the big change is psychological. When I’m tired I rush to close out winning positions, struggle to hold winning trades, and cannot rely on instinct or decision making to cut losses quickly.

I consider that I have three options:

  1. Don’t trade when tired.
  2. Understand that decision making is impaired, so only trade strictly systematically, with defined entries/exits/stops that require no interpretation or judgement.
  3. Work at being less tired - so look at sleep, nutrition, exercise, regularity of breaks, and what to do during the breaks.

The issues I have encountered with (1) is the temptation to enter a trade opportunity even if tired. It takes discipline to not trade an opportunity, and discipline is one of my first traits to be impaired when tired. So I need to either go out so I can’t trade, or become engrossed in another project that keeps me away from the trading screen. If I do other work on the computer, it is tempting to look at the markets.

Point (2) I want to avoid, as that is best executed by algos rather than human.

(3) is what I’m focusing on.

3 Likes

The most challenging days for me to trade are Mondays and late afternoons Friday.
Mondays, I am coming back after a mental rest, and it takes me a while to get used to the market rhythm and focus on the price action. On Fridays, I am just too eager to start the weekend and become a bit impatient. Rather than fighting my tendencies, I minimize the trading activity.

It helps to play electronic music with certain rhymes to keep me focused.

If I am too tired, I am just impatient, eager, and impulsive. I try to pain attention to my energy levels before I trade to see what state I am in, whether calm, tired, anxious, or uncertain.

@autobahn mentioned diet; I minimize certain foods when I trade to keep my energy up and exercise regularly to have better focus.

Mo

2 Likes

Very detailed breakdown, thank you. I like that strategy, and it seems like if you focus on #3 it would help address items #1 and #2 potentially.

It’s a good reminder that traders have to stay in excellent shape, physically and mentally, to really perform at our best. Sleep and nutrition are quick wins to stay focused. And hydrated!

1 Like

I have found that Fridays are a challenge for me as well. Also I don’t like to trade close to the close on any day, I find myself chasing and not trading my plan.

Mondays I do have to ease into it as well, make sure I’m flowing with how the market is trading.

Nice to see I’m not the only one with challenges at certain times.
The last 3 days I had nice profits booked. Then 1 mistake which leads to me chasing and fighting to make back what I lost. Yesterday I forgot about the SL after I closed a position. Another mistake. I got to eager, closed the position early and within seconds the stop loss triggered of course going the wrong direction. By the time I noticed I turned my profit for the day into a loss. Not sure I helped by trying to win it back.
Then to top it off, today I booked best profit in 2 months. Account was up almost 60% for the month. At 3 I said I was done for the day. At 3:30 I was back in making 1 more trade. And the last 10 minutes. WTH is with the markets during that time?
I worked really hard all month turning things around and even with the 2 mistakes the last 2 days I overcame them and still was doing great…until the last 15 minutes today. I really should have went for a walk. Still profitable for the month but 10% instead of 60%… From now on I am pulling my mouse out of my computer at 3:30. LOL.
Normally I do well in the mornings and in the afternoons between 2 and 3.

3 Likes