Focus and Execute

Trader's Mindset

Aug 09

I think there is value in seeing each trading endeavor as a project. In this way, we can get rid of baggage that might be hamstringing our progress. The “baggage” can be both negative or positive. But, if it is not helping our trading today then we need to focus elsewhere.

  1. Stock taking. Take stock and do an accounting of resources. How much capital do you have? How much time? What are your strengths? What are your eventual goals?
  2. Requirements and goal setting. Define your requirements. The system trader may decide they need a system that meets certain performance goals. The discretionary trader may need to demonstrate capability in simulation and paper trading. I think what is important about this is you are very clear in what and how you will be executing. What is important is that a single method or style is documented. I think this clarity of focus is even more important for the experienced discretionary trader.
  3. Work. Work to meet those requirements with. Set deadlines, schedules, and do at least one activity each day toward your goal.
  4. Paper trade and cool off period. Great you met your requirements. Take a breather. Try to avoid rushing things at this stage. Track your system in paper accounts. It is important to be especially aware of how changing market conditions can change the performance of a strategy.
  5. Live execution. If everything still looks good after a cool off period, now it is time execute. Trade the methodology or system. Execute and track.
  6. Learn. Learn what you can from the process. Rinse and repeat.

Let me know if you have any additional suggestions in the comments down below.

About the Author

The author is passionate about markets. He has developed top ranked futures strategies. His core focus is (1) applying machine learning and developing systematic strategies, and (2) solving the toughest problems of discretionary trading by applying quantitative tools, machine learning, and performance discipline. You can contact the author at