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We traders are amazing people. We leave our regular jobs to make it on our own and on our own terms. Once we start working, though, its all too easy to fall back into the unhealthy working habits that made the full-time office lifestyle unbearable. This article is a wake-up call for all of us who are guilty bringing the worst of our previous careers into our new way of life. Let’s identify, discuss and dismiss these habits to create better microenvironments for our work.
Habit #1 Working Too Hard
There’s a reason the stock exchange has pre-set trading hours. The New York Stock Exchange’s official timings are between 9:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Eastern time. After-hours trading goes on until 8:00 p.m., but that does not mean day traders should stay glued to their screens until that time. The beauty of day-trading is the ability to live a relaxed lifestyle, with your own hours.
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A Gallup report on American working hours says the average full-time worker logs 47 hours to their employer every week. That’s way higher than the same figure in Germany and Sweden, where the workweek is typically only 35 hours long.
“Europeans see that as being inefficient,” Craig Storti, who wrote Communicating Across Cultures, told Business Insider. “They say, ‘You should have finished that in the allotted time.'”
We agree with Storti, especially in regards to trading. Invest in software and services that cut down research time and automate alerts. Pre-set buy/sell orders let you relax while your savvy algorithms do the trick. There’s no reason any trader should be stuck at their desk for that many hours a day. At STT, we want our people to live a healthy, happy, and holistic life.
Habit #2 Skipping Vacation
As a trader, you’re are now technically a remote worker. Take advantage of that as much as possible, especially if you are single without kids or if you’ve retired, but have stuck to trading as a way to keep the mind fresh. Make your trades sitting on the shores of beautiful beaches in the Caribbean, lounging near the top of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, or sipping a glass of wine at your favorite pub in London. Carpe diem. And take pictures. Or it didn’t happen.
Immerse yourself in a foreign culture for weeks or even months. The sky’s the limit when Wi-fi is all you need to make bank.
Habit #3 Eating at Your Desk
The moment you leave the traditional workplace and start working for yourself, gone are the days you eat lunch at your desk. Turn off your computer and let those processors rest. Pull up an episode of The Office, a trading movie, or another beloved comedy show and take at least 20 minutes to decompress. Skipping a wholesome lunch experience will keep you from reaching productive heights. If you aren’t into TV shows, consider ringing up your friends for a quick chat. Listen to the details of their day and respond accordingly, when you’re done chewing, of course.
Habit #4 Working Without A Break
Even beyond the scheduled lunch breaks, consider taking short strolls around the house or coffee shop that you trade from every couple of hours. When you board a plane, the flight safety videos are keen to teach passengers about the importance of blood circulation. Take a walk just for your heart’s sake!
Habit #5 Convenience Snacking
Day traders and other kinds of remote workers are guilty of the mindless snacking curse. We get it. Your entire pantry is just a few feet away and access to every single one of your favorite munchies is unprecedented on a daily basis. The problem is, trading is a relatively sedentary job. You’ll inevitably start gaining weight, becoming less able to perform the athletic activities you probably enjoy. Going to work at an office still offers opportunities to walk around and burn some calories, but most American urban and suburban living quarters just do not require much movement to maintain. Stick to low-calorie popcorn or water to keep the calorie count low. You will love yourself for it later.
Habit #6 Addiction To Social Media
This one’s big. As millennials take over day trading, distracted investing is becoming a major problem. Going back and forth between social media and trading software makes it difficult for your brain to focus on a specific function. True, the advent of the internet has allowed our minds to develop multi-tasking capabilities unparalleled in human history. Still, to get anything meaningful done, we need focus. Send out your daily Snapchat to maintain your streaks and then turn that device off. It needs to be just you and the computer for a few hours—everything else can wait.