When Does Screen Time Become Too Much?
If you’re trading at the moment, I hope it was a good week for you. With a nice juicy green P&L.
If you’re not trading, but reading this on a lounger by a pool somewhere, then have a cold beer for me…
I want to talk about screen-watching. If you’re a day trader you need to be at the screen right? You can’t execute or calibrate to conditions if you aren’t watching charts.
But when does screen time become too much?
When does sitting there watching price become detrimental to your performance?
Here’s what I believe:
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You’re in a Trade
If you’re in a trade do you really need to be looking at the screen?
Unless price is at your exit point and there’s a discretionary element to the exit, is watching every tick really going to help you?
Personally, I find if I’m in a trade and watching price tick up and down my mind starts to think about reasons to close the trade. None of them will be valid but I it’s human nature to start seeing patterns that aren’t there.
Better to set your stop, add a limit or alert and then just let price do its thing.
Go and WALK the dog…
The Market is Choppy
Now this one is a real trader’s nemesis!
Choppy markets can lure you into a trade you really don’t want to be in… You start seeing things that aren’t there. Start getting bored. And before you know it, you’re in a trade you just wanted to take for a ‘quick scalp’ which turned out to be an absolute mess.
Just stay away.
The market isn’t going anywhere. You don’t need to risk your capital in a substandard choppy environment. Better to wait until the opportunity presents itself.
You’re Feeling Fatigued
This one requires a good level of honesty and awareness. Trading and screen-watching is tiring. It takes a lot of energy. Sure it’s not high-intensity cardio but it can be mentally draining.
A tired trader is deadly… Mistakes can creep in. Emotions can be triggered more easily. It’s not a good time to be at the screen.
Take a break, save your capital, and come back tomorrow. Walking away from the screen can feel like you’re not a ‘real trader’. You feel like you should be there all the time.
But P&L is the Bottom Line that Matters
And if walking away from the screen helps you reduce your losing trades, then your P&L is just going to benefit.
After all, when you wire over your trading profits the bank doesn’t ask you how much time you spent at the desk…