When you look at any successful person, one thing stands out among all of them, and that one thing is their routine. Routine is the silent architect of long term success. It manages our actions, shapes our habits and behaviours, and most importantly it guides us towards our goals and aspirations. This fundamental truth resonates in our lives as much as it does in our trading. That’s why in this this blog we will discuss the importance of routine, how it impacts our life, and how routine and a structured life is crucial for structure in our trading.
The Foundation of Success
Before we begin to talk about trading and how routine can have an impact on it, we have to first acknowledge the significance of routine in our lives. A well structured routine gives us the ability to remain disciplined, it allows us to manage our time more effectively, it can allow us to make better decisions and reduce decision fatigue, and it frees up time for reviewing, critical thinking and problem solving. Routine also gives us the ability to form habits, which can become automatic and unconscious, meaning we can do them more easily and over a longer period of time. Also, by automating certain tasks we can allocate our mental resources to other tasks that are also important, meaning we can get much more done.
The Connection Between a Structured Life and Trading
Most people are either oblivious to, or massively underestimate the connection between having a good personal routine and a good trading routine. Traders will often try to be structured, and have a process when they are on the charts, but they fail to have a similar structure for their personal lives. You need to recognise that to be successful in trading, you must have discipline, consistency and a structured routine in your everyday life. You simply can’t be the type of person who has a chaotic life, going to bed at silly o’ clock in the morning because you prioritise gaming and Netflix over a good nights sleep so that you’re well rested. You can’t be they type of person who wakes up late everyday and jumps straight on the charts, and then ends up making impulsive decisions and not sticking to your rules because you missed all the good moves while you were asleep. Contrast this with a person who follows a well structured and organised daily routine, someone who gets their 7-8 hours of sleep every night, wakes up early to carry out their morning rituals before they sit at their desk. This type of person will inevitably approach their trading with a clear mind, it is much more likely that they will be able to make good decisions, stick to their plan and follow their rules.
Creating a Routine
1: Setting the tone in the morning
If you want to have a productive and successful day, you should se the tone for this in the early hours of the morning. Create a morning routine that revolves around exercise followed by meditation to get you focussed and organised. By starting off with a positive mindset like this, a trader is able to approach their trading with a greater level of clarity and composure, and be in the best shape to be able to make good decisions. If you get this part of the day right, it will make it easier to be productive for the rest of the day.
2: Time Blocking
Time Blocking is a powerful technique that is used by some of the most highly effective people in the world. The purpose of this technique is to allocate specific time slots to different activities throughout the day. By doing this you will know exactly what you will be doing at what time of the day. You need to allocate a specific time of the day towards trading, and outside of these hours fill up your time with tasks and activities that promote personal development and growth, relationships, and leisure activities.
3: Set Realistic Goals
Setting yourself realistic goals with timescales to achieve those goals is such an important step in this process because it will allow you to stick to your routine for longer, and ticking off goals along the way will keep you motivated and give you a sense of achievement and purpose during those challenging times.
4: Review and Reflect
Your routine will not be fixed forever, but rather it is a dynamic process that you will need to evolve and adapt based on your experiences, accomplishments and challenges. It is a good idea to review your routine on 3 monthly basis and try to identify strengths and weaknesses, look at your trading performance, your health and wellbeing, and then use this information to make changes to your routine wherever you feel necessary. For example, you may feel like you are not dedicating enough time to personal growth and that is impacting your discipline in trading, then you would make a change to add more time to work on this area. Or you feel like your mental health is taking a toll because you do not have enough leisure time in your routine, so you could change your routine to reflect this need.
Becoming a successful trader requires you to develop a personal routine that works in harmony with your trading routine. Having a consistent and positive personal routine will make it easier for you to handle your emotions, because you will be able to remain focussed on the bigger picture, which means that short term setback and challenges are viewed as just minor bumps on the road to success. A structured daily routine will allow you to think with clarity and make better decisions because you will dedicate time slot for different problems in your life. Imagine trying to be worried about your health, and you’ve got a couple of bills outstanding, and you don’t know what you’re having for lunch later, and your partner needs you to run some errands, and your kids want to spend time with you, and you’re trying to trade at the same time. With so much going on in your mind at the same time, you’re not going to be able to do any of these things well, and to make matters worse, they will take a toll on your mental health to the point where you decide to just give up on your goals, and take the easy route of just plodding through life, living day to day without a real purpose. Now imagine if you had a well laid out routine, which allowed time for trading, time for exercise, time for your kids, time for errands, time for admin etc. By allocating time for different areas and issues in your life, you are allowing yourself to focus on one issue at a time and by doing so you will make better decision and perform better in all of those areas, and together by performing well in all of the areas of your life will make you a highly productive and successful person. A routine gives you so much in terms of effective time management, enhanced decision making, a greater level of discipline, less stress, more clarity…all of which are critical components for a successful trading career.
I am sure you can see how adopting a structure and a routine in your daily life will improve your chances of success in the long term. However, even though the benefits are so clear and impactful, sticking to a routine for a long enough time to receive the full benefits from it, is filled with difficulties and challenges of its own. Challenges such as distractions, last minute plans and unforeseen events, the short sightedness and the temptations to deviate from your routine. All of these things can undermine the success of a positive routine and make it difficult to experience it’s long term benefits. Even though your routine will be carried out on a daily basis and should be reviewed every 3 months, the key is to have a long term perspective on your life and your trading, and to stay committed, knowing that you are on the right path to success. By establishing a structured and well laid out routine that includes both your personal life and your trading, you are setting the stage for a successful trader. That is the crucial role of Routine in Life and in Trading.