2018 proved to be one of the most difficult trading markets that I have come across in my 7-year trading career.
The volatility that entered markets starting in early February of 2018 sent waves across the entire financial industry.
We saw record numbers of funds shut down, traders exit the game, and people lose faith in the financial markets. However, wherever there is difficulty and trial, there is also an incredible opportunity to grow.
Here is a breakdown of some vitally important lessons that I learned in 2018. Furthermore, here is how I expect to capitalize on those lessons, to have my best trading year ever in 2019, specifically in regard to my daily schedule, and morning routine.
After intense review, I found that I won 79% of all trades that I took within the first 60 minutes of market open.
In the hours that followed, my winning percentage dropped as far as 59%.
I won 82% of all short trades that I took in 2018 while winning roughly 68% of the long trades that I took.
Upon further review, I found that had I of only traded the first 60 minutes of market open, and not a single trade after that, it would have led to nearly $125,000 in additional profit.
WOW. Right? WOW.
I could end this post right here on that note, and that info alone could be enough to completely change your trading career. But, there is still so much to learn from 2018.
2018 forced me to play strategies that I had never before considered. I was forced to throw out some of the most basic rules of discipline, and do things that often felt entirely backward, simply because the markets were asking for it.
This unusual activity led to one of the most impressive two week periods in my life as I made nearly $40,000 in just 13 trading days. However, this same irregularity also led to some of the worst losses in my trading career.
I am grateful for every lesson that I learned in 2018. What I learned in those 12 months “Trumps” (pun intended) nearly all that I had previously learned over the years.
The last year was a great reminder of how small we really are in the grand scheme of things. It wasn’t until my intensive end of year review though that I took away the greatest lesson of all from 2018.
And that is this, each one of us is COMPLETELY in control of our own destiny. Cheesy right? Well, let me try to rephrase that so you can see it from my eyes.
I let the market shake me and change me. I let the market talk me into doing things I shouldn’t have done. And, that is not the market’s fault, it isn’t President Trump’s fault, it isn’t the Fed’s fault, it is MY fault.
So please, I beg of you, control your own destiny. By doing so, it will lead to the best trading year of your career. Let me dive into how that is going to be possible, and it’s all about our daily schedule.
2019 Basic Schedule
Our daily schedule is so often overlooked. In later blog posts, I will talk more about specific trading strategies but those don’t mean anything if you can’t master a daily routine. Take this as you will, your schedule likely will look different than mine. Find something that works.
The schedule I will share with you is one that has been backtested for almost 4,000 days in my life and it has proven time and time again to be the one that I perform best in.
*All times are in Mountain Standard Time Zone*
5 am: Wake up, light protein/vegetable shake
Right when that alarm goes off, tell your spouse you love them. Give them a morning smooch. It’s the little things in life that matter.
5:20 am: Gym
I don’t care if you are 18, or you are 81, physical exercise is not an optional part of your daily routine. Taking a workout routine seriously stimulates your mind, destresses you, and is proven to lower anxiety and depression. The mind will fire up your “feel good” chemicals. You will have more energy and be more focused when trading. I kid you not, working out makes you a better person. The benefits will even carry into your relationships with your significant other, your family, hell even your dog. DON’T SKIP THIS! Get some headphones, play your favorite podcasts, your favorite music, but take advantage of this self-care time. It may be the only hour of self-care you get all day.
6:20 am: Turn on news outlets, shower, full breakfast, “get ready”
*I can’t stress enough how important it is to GET READY. Trading in your pajamas without breakfast and waking up minutes before market open is a guaranteed way to kick yourself out of the trading game quickly.*
6:50 am: Scan for news, press releases, create trade plans, communicate
It’s now go time. This is when you want to start firing on all cylinders. Having a strong trading community as we do at KAF Investing, this is when you check in with a really nice “GOOOOOD MORNING”! Chances are most people already will be active and throwing out ideas and news headlines etc. This makes a world of difference. Trading lonely is miserable. Don’t do it. Find a team that is genuine and that cares and then do all you can to help contribute to that team. You will find immense satisfaction in developing relationships with other traders. We are all on the same team. It’s us against the brightest minds in the world. What a beautiful challenge that is daily. I love it. There is always room aboard our trading room, and we would love to have you join us if you are genuine about learning and building up others.
7:25 am: Voice channel, market breakdown, trade idea walk-through
This is when I go live on our voice channel for all our trading room members to hear. I talk about the stocks that I will be focusing on, I explain exactly what I am looking for them to do and how I want to trade them. I explain recent news headlines and events, and most importantly, I TEACH. I feel there is no better way to learn how to trade than dealing with the day to day real life, happening right now events in the markets. I trade live while talking on the voice channel for the first hour of market open.
8:30 am: Hand the voice channel over to our other moderators
After being on the voice channel and trading for the first hour of markets with everyone, it’s now time for me to step away from the computers for a bit.
This is new. This is different.
In 2018 I sat at the computer for 8 or 9 straight hours constantly trading, but as I mentioned above that cost me a lot. At this time I will still listen to our other moderator’s trade and explain what they are seeing. I will review my own personal trades and make video recaps and reach out to members and help build others up as much as I can. My work day is still very young, my trading day though, is over. There are exceptions for setups that I just can’t pass up on, or if we have major news drop midday that we want to trade. But 95% of the time, I won’t take new positions after the first hour of market open in 2019. I will still likely be in a position or two, but my hard stops and price target will be in and locked.
10 am: EAT
It is a little embarrassing but if I don’t have reminders all over my computer screen, I will go sometimes 12 hours without eating. I just completely forget. I get so absorbed into all that I do that it just doesn’t get attention. I have to be better about this though in 2019. Cannot let the little things slip by. Go to lunch with your wife, surprise her with flowers or something. I dunno, you’ll figure it out. But, take a little midday break.
2 pm: Step away from work, and re-balance
Markets close at 2 pm and it is really important from a mental standpoint that I get away from the computers. However, I do usually have a one-on-one mentoring session with some of our trading room members periodically throughout the evening, so that schedule is subject to change.
*Now let us jump ahead to my nightly routine. This is subject to change. Sometimes I will have my watchlist picks written up before the market even closes, other times I may not write them up until 8 pm or so. However, here is a general template.*
6 pm: Make watch-list
This doesn’t take long because I spend all market open constantly scanning for setups and things that I can take advantage of the next day.
7 pm: Wind down time
10 pm: Lights out
I love to send out one more little market futures update right before I go to bed, but then it is lights out. No watching Netflix in bed, or scrolling through Instagram. Doing these things in bed actually subconsciously train your body to sleep worse because its used to doing these other things while in bed other than sleeping. If you have sleep issues, try cutting these things out and you should see a significant change.
Make Your Daily Routine
Chances are, you and I are really different. This is just a small example of how I aim to be better and more disciplined in 2019. So, now it is your turn to figure out what works best for you.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to me personally via email to ask me any questions or feedback about your schedule.
Obviously, no day is the same and my days vary from day to day, but having a guideline and doing all you can to stick to it will make you more efficient, more diligent, give you greater self-control, and really can make all the difference in your life.