6am “Top Down Analysis” 

During this initial round of market analysis, I have two main focuses; 1) To look for any swing trading opportunities and 2) to screen for which pairs need to be on my radar for potential day trading opportunities. I always start with taking a bird’s eye view of the market by looking at my higher timeframe charts (Daily) followed by working my way down to the 4 Hour and 1 Hour timeframes for each of the pairs in my trading portfolio.

7am “Mental Preparation”

After prepping for my trading day it’s important that I step away from the charts.  I find it a lot easier to concentrate with a clear mind so each morning I take some time to perform some mental relaxation drills. When the weather is nice I’ll take a walk around the neighborhood while listening to an audio book. Or in the winter months, performing some yoga inside the comforts of my house get me in the right place. Either way, the combination of clearing the mind and stimulating the body with physical activity allows me to get “into the zone” before stepping into the trading arena. Getting in the zone also includes eating a quality breakfast and doing a mental check. I WILL NOT involve myself in the markets if I’m not in the correct trading mindset.

8am “Active Day Trading” 

This is when I’m actively engaged in the markets looking for trading opportunities on both the higher and lower timeframes.  At this time, I once again perform a round of top down analysis on each of the pairs in my trading portfolio however, this time I will progress down to the 5 minute (and often the 5 range bar) charts as I look for trading opportunities. Moderating a Live Trading Room provides me with the luxury of having multiple eyes on the markets during the busy days to help with finding opportunities and other like-minded traders to communicate with during the slower ones. 

11am “Mental Reset” 

As my day trading session ends, my next step is to remove myself from the computer. If I haven’t scheduled any meetings for this time, my main objective is to focus on my physical fitness.  Not only do I need to stay in shape for whatever crazy event I’m training for at the time, but exercise is also a stress reliever as it pumps up your endorphins which are your brain’s “feel-good “chemical release. On difficult trading days, this allows be to get my mind off of the pain, so that I don’t bring my attitude back home with me to my wife and kid. And on good days, it helps me avoid an overconfident state, which could potentially lead to “chasing” the markets and over trading. 

2pm “Review & Journaling” 

I used to review my day and journal my entries directly after my trading was complete, but I found myself being to “in the moment” and being able to have a much more objective view if I mentally reset first. Aside from statistics, I like to cycle through the trading day and look at all of the opportunities that existed. Questions are asked such as “could this trade have been handled differently?” Or, “was there any way to take advantage of this opportunity?”  This time is used to work on myself as a trader and focus on my continuous improvement. 

4pm-7pm (Depending on my schedule) “Post NY/Pre London Top Down Analysis”

This is my final round of analysis for the day. Like earlier in the morning, I’m only looking for higher time frame opportunities that may exist during the upcoming Asia and London sessions.  After my orders are placed, I leave my office for the day and I make sure to spend time with my family. 

Trading Like a Business

The odds of becoming a successful trader are very slim, but greatly increased if you take a professional approach.  Yes, being a professional trader can provide us with freedom of time, but we shouldn’t abuse that privilege.  A good business looks to streamline their process in order to increase productivity and as traders we need to do the same.  We are our business, and if we want to see consistent results we need to trade a consistent strategy, while taking a consistent approach to the markets. If done correctly, our business has a chance to survive, if not then we’re most likely destined for failure.   

Akil Stokes
Chief Currency Analyst
and Head Trading Coach
Trade Empowered