When the UK announced lockdown in March, its impact on market conditions was unprecedented: initially the volatility and lack of liquidity came as a big (and unwelcome) surprise for traders. Since then, market conditions have settled, but we’re still trading in quarantine under new conditions.
So, while the lockdown has not affected the practicalities of trading, it has made a huge impact psychologically - whether this means finding it more difficult to concentrate on your charts; overtrading due to anxiety; or simply finding it hard to maintain a balance between trading and your day job now that you’re working from home. If you’re struggling, you’re not alone - many traders will undoubtedly be facing the same issues.
Here are our practical tips on how to stay focused and motivated, how to get used to a working from home routine - and how to manage your trading psychology during a global crisis.
If you’re not subscribed to BluFX, why not join today? You can trade from home during lockdown with real payouts each month - here’s 5 reasons to join us....
How to manage your anxiety
As a trader, you’ll be used to anxiety - but it’s more pronounced now. Trading during quarantine is undoubtedly stressful: you’re anxiously watching the market, reading the news, and figuring out how to adapt to a new working environment. All of this is bound to have an effect on your mindset, and your trades - we know how tempting it can be to widen your stop loss or overtrade if you’re feeling anxious. Here’s how to manage your anxiety during lockdown...
1. Reduce your news intake
We know it’s important to monitor the news as it affects your charts, but constantly reading the news can also have a detrimental effect and cause you to overtrade due to anxiety. If this sounds familiar, limiting your news intake to once or twice a day at set times might help to alleviate some of this stress and prevent it encroaching on your trading time.
Tip: Try slightly reducing news app alerts from your phone, or reducing news site notifications from your computer during the workday.
2. Meditation and exercise
Now you’re working from home, why not use some of your lunch break to get moving? Meditation, yoga or other forms of exercise can help to alleviate anxiety and stress, and can also be a wonderful break from sitting at your desk looking at your charts, leaving you feeling fresh, relaxed - and ready to get going. Meditation or yoga is also a brilliant way to start the day before working.
During quarantine, it’s important not to forget risk management. Read our blog on 4 Essential Risk Management Tips>>
How to stay focused
Quarantine is full of distractions: the news, health anxiety - not to mention all of the working-from-home distractions. It’s easy to let this affect your trades, but it doesn’t have to - here are some tips on staying focused during turbulent times...
1. Get into a routine
Routine is incredibly important - especially when you’re working from home! If you’re finding it hard to concentrate (and who isn’t at the moment?), try waking up, reading news, taking lunch, exercising and scheduling meetings with colleagues at the same time every day. This will help you to stay focused and limit your distractions. You could set reminders on your phone for specific activities, or create a daily timetable to pin above your desk.
Tip: If you’re finding it hard to focus, try a concentration app like Forest, which helps you to stay focused on one task for a specified time - or a web app like TimeDoctor, which monitors your time spent working.
2. Stick to your trading plan
A lack of focus will inevitably affect your trades, too, so the best thing to do to avoid this is to stick to your trading plan as best you can - it still applies during lockdown! It can be especially tempting in the current climate to overtrade, to trade more recklessly (or carefully) than usual, or to employ different strategies you haven’t really tested because you’re anxious about your own. Don’t do this! You created your trading plan to protect yourself, so stick to your own rules about your risk management and stop losses, and stay as disciplined and focused as possible.
Tip: Your working from home set up will likely have several screens, so why not use one of these to display your trading plan so it’s at the forefront of your mind while you’re monitoring your charts?
Don’t have your trading plan sorted yet? Read our blog on the 8-step ultimate trading plan checklist>>
How to get used to working from home
If you’re not used to working from home, it can be tough - a lack of colleagues to talk to, a lack of focus, more distractions - especially so during a global crisis. Here are some tips to help you adjust...
1. Set up a workspace
Make sure you set up a dedicated workspace if you’re working from home: this will help to encourage you to approach work the same way you would at the office, and will help you limit your distractions. This might be working from the kitchen table, a spare room, or a desk in your bedroom. The best workspace is one that makes you feel the most comfortable, energised and ready to start work for the day. That might be decorating with motivational quotes above your screen, having your trading plan pinned to your notice board, or having space on your desk for energy-packed snacks or water.
Tip: see the BBC’s top working from home tips from around the world.
2. Maintain a balance so you don’t overtrade
If you usually trade around a day job, it can be difficult to balance the two if you’re working from home: nobody is now watching you, so it might be tempting to trade more than you usually would since you now have access to the market. However, it’s important to stick to the same schedule you would normally: it’s likely you built your trading plan around the times you could trade around your job before, so the same applies. If you find yourself getting distracted, try our focusing tips above by blocking certain sites from your computer, or setting aside chunks of time on your calendar for trading.
Tip: read our blog on 5 Tips for Fitting Trading Around Your Day Job for effective time management tips.
Don’t fall into the easy trap of making mistakes while you’re trading during lockdown. Here are the 3 Most Common Trading Mistakes - and how to avoid them>>