“My kids think all fathers work from home” – Marty Schwartz
Trading is incredibly freeing for a number of reasons, but one of the biggest and best is the simple fact that you can do it from home – wherever that may be – with a great deal of flexibility.
But, as we probably all know, it’s not always that easy. Here are some tips.
Tip #1: Create and maintain your own trading space. Focus on getting the best results with the least clutter. The last thing you need is distractions, but do keep hold of any trinkets that genuinely help you stay focused.
Tip #2: Leave your home life at home. No matter whether work is an office building, police station, bank, or otherwise, you should always be on point, and for good reason. Trading is no different, even when done from home. Keep the strictly personal out of it, even if it is all around you.
Tip #3: Walk the dog. If you don’t have a dog, walk yourself. Don’t just look at charts all day. It’s no fun, and it won’t exactly help clear your head. Go outside and think about what you really want, even if it’s only for ten minutes at a time.
Tip #4: Stretch. Breathe. Meditate. Develop a physical and mental routine that lends itself to relaxing you in every sense. There’s no point in working from home if it only gets you worked up.
Tip #5: Be nice to your eyes. You only get two. If the simple act of looking at your screen hurts, then don’t delay in getting help. Take breaks, and if you notice any ongoing problems, talk to your doctor or optometrist. If your optometrist tells you to stop staring at a screen all night… try f.lux.
Tip #6: Don’t get addicted to distractions. Whether it’s YouTube, online auctions, pictures of cats, or the millions of other kinds of content one can find online, it doesn’t pay to be dragged away from work for things that can wait. I’m not here to judge your browsing habits, but I do know what’s good and bad for trading. Remain focused during your working day and you’ll be glad you did.
Tip #7: Visualize twice, then do it again. Everything important can be improved upon. Without obsessing, think about how well you did last time, and how you’ll do even better next time. Dedicate a few minutes every night to giving yourself a mental walkthrough of tomorrow. When it happens, you’ll be ready.
Tip #8: Think in terms of business. You already have a trading business – why not be self-employed in more than one way? It seems glamorous to dedicate yourself entirely to trading, until you realise you’re literally trading for your life. Draw a secondary income, even if small, from anything else you happen to be good at. Best case, you strike it rich. Worst case, you improve your knowledge of tax law when it comes time to file.
Tip #9: Be clear with your family: you need your space. Explain calmly that you can’t think about your family properly if you are thinking about work, so how can you think about work properly if you are thinking about family? There is bound to be some conflict here: be assertive and stand your ground, but make sure to acknowledge their arguments. You will be a better person for it.
Tip #10: Be kind to your family: you love them all the same. One of the many benefits of trading is learning to live in the moment. Cherish whatever family you have. Be bright-eyed and responsive. Give your family all of your energy when you can – this will make it easier for them to understand that you give all of your energy to work when you’re working.
Working from home certainly isn’t the hardest thing in the world to do, but it’s not as easy as many people would like to believe. It requires discipline at the best of times, and I’m always on the lookout for new ways to do it better.
How do my tips stack up against yours? Let me know if you have any golden rules.