With the pandemic, working from home has become a reality for many traders - so it's important you make your WFH life work for you. Whether this is cutting down distractions, setting up a workspace that motivates you or setting strict work hours, here are some top working from home tips for traders - so you can stay on top of your game, wherever you're working...
Working from Home Tips for Traders
1. Have a designated workspace
Clean, organised workspaces go a long way when you're trying to be productive. Keep on top of incoming paperwork, invoices, and receipts by setting up an office in a spare bedroom, or invest in an affordable file cabinet. A large desk with lots of storage space will give you room for your computer, printer, and files. A comfortable ergonomic chair is critical to working comfortably at your workplace, no matter how long the workday.
Want to see how other traders set up their space? Take a peek inside some forex traders' home offices here>>
2. Work regular hours
Everyone knows that working long hours is bad for you. By cutting work periods down to 4-6 hours, you can improve your productivity and achieve better results while still leaving enough time for a family and leisure activities.
It could be tempting to work through lunch or past normal hours, but it's not so productive. Create space for the things that are important to you, so you won't feel an urgent need to rush off early, avoiding work, or stay late for fear of not doing enough work. Keep a log of your hours and analyze it carefully. Work hard when you're working, but not more than needed. This will give you bright ideas and inspiration when you're resting.
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3. Make a routine
Working from home can be quiet, peaceful, and unrushed. But when you trade for a living, the home office easily morphs into an extension of your trading environment. Consequently, you'll need to make a routine of a few things to stay focused and productive. If you are working from home as a trader, you'll want to create a routine to clear your mind and prepare for the trading day. For example:
- Eat breakfast at the same time each morning
- Get dressed at the same time each morning
- Go through a trading journal daily
- Set your goals and review them at the same time each morning
- Make coffee or tea at various times throughout the day to keep an even flow of caffeine
When you work from home, the temptation to slack off is often right there, but making a routine can help curb that. By accomplishing a checklist every day that includes exercise, errands, and always tidying up your desk space, it's easier to stay focused on your goals.
Here's how to stop overtrading if you're working from home>>
4. Work in 90-minute sessions
It is important to take regular breaks during the workday. Traders tend to lock themselves away at their work station and only take short breaks. About eight hours of continuous trading can lead to mental overload. Take a break every 90 minutes, even if you are not mentally or physically tired – stand up from your chair and walk around for 10 minutes or so before returning to your trading screen. Since this is time that could be spent refreshing your mind, try to do things to relax. Do not watch television, play video games, or eat the whole time you stand there between trading sessions.
Stepping back to the desk? Read the ultimate trading mindset checklist>>
5. Do not multitask
You should not multitask. For example, do not research the 50 stocks you own while watching TV or listening to music on your iPod when you are trading. When you are doing the same thing over and over, there is a habit-forming tendency. Focus all of your attention on one thing at a time, and you will be able to think deeper, which will allow you to make better decisions.
On a break? Take a look at our New Year's Resolutions for traders in 2021>>
6. Avoid distractions
Avoid distractions at work such as social media, games, music, and the telephone. If you cannot avoid them while working on your trading program at home, keep them out of sight on a different computer or in a different room. Work when you are in the right frame of mind. If you can't focus or concentrate, it's far better to be outside, having a coffee, meeting with a colleague, going for a walk, or seeing to the household chores.
"Take your financial future into your own hands." - read our Q&A with trading expert and psychology coach Mandi Rafsendjani here>>
7. Dressing for work
Working from home can lead to the tendency to wear pyjamas. Getting dressed can become a struggle but some people might say it isn't a job if you don't have to dress up. Not everyone will see it this way, so instead of looking like a slouchy mess while trading or working from home, put on some decent clothes that won't distract others and won't make you feel uncomfortable either.
8. Set yourself daily and weekly goals
The ability to focus on your trading is a skill that comes easy for some, while others learn it. One way of helping your time as a trader is setting your daily goals. Having small goals every day makes it more manageable, and you end up achieving more. A good time to set these goals (daily) is in the morning, and this also gives you something to work towards during the day. Weekly goals are easier to manage because you can plan out your time more easily as there are only seven days, so they can be longer-term goals but still achievable.
See which trading strategy suits you here: Which Trader Personality Are You?
9. Listen to audiobooks and podcasts
When you're at work and want to keep your mind occupied, but don't have a problem that requires you to be constantly thinking, try listening to audiobooks or podcasts. Even if you aren't interested in the subject matter, simply listening to another person speak will take up some of your mental resources. In this way, it can keep you from getting bored and allowing the hours to feel like days!