When you have limited time to dedicate to trading, it's easy to get caught up in information overload and lose sight of the bigger picture. Too much information thrown at you may stop you from moving forward with your trading - it can also overwhelm you and make you feel like you're not making as much progress as others. Here's how to manage information overload in forex - and how to make better use of your limited time.
This blog is part of our new Make It Happen series, a series of blogs aimed at total beginners to forex: for people working a full-time job, with little capital to start off with, and limited time to learn how to trade. Sound familiar? Here’s how to get started on your trading journey.
6 Tips to Manage Information Overload
1. De-clutter your brain daily
Excess information leaves you scattered. Clutter on your desk, unread emails, notes-to-self, too many alerts on your phone - it all adds up to a scattered mind. Especially when you're learning forex: you might be watching a YouTube video, and suddenly remember halfway through that you were really meant to look up what support and resistance was, but then forgot. Pausing the video, looking that up, getting distracted, not finishing the video... it's information overload.
When you're in the middle of something, try jotting down a note to yourself instead of pursuing the thought straight away or mentally storing it. This will free up the brain to continue functioning without remembering the thought. Each day create one blank index card and place it on your computer monitor. Use it as a scratch pad to capture random ideas! When you next have dedicated forex time, go through the card.
Struggling to step away from the computer? Here's a guide on how to manage anxiety, stay focused and get used to working from home - with meditation apps, tips and more>>
2. Work in short bursts and take breaks
Do you feel like the market is continuously moving and you can't keep up? Don't get overwhelmed. Start by breaking down your routine - you probably don't have the time to dedicate to trading full time, so set a plan for yourself on what you'll do when you DO have time. It's easy to over complicate things sometimes, so try to keep everything as simple as possible.
Working in short bursts is even more important when you're working with limited time. When you're not actively trading, put away all of your financial information and disengage from the financial world. You'll feel far more refreshed for your next session.
"Take your financial future into your own hands." - read our Q&A with trading expert and psychology coach Mandi Rafsendjani here>>
3. Learn outside of trading hours
When the markets are open, there's so much coming at you from the computer and television screens, and it can be overwhelming if you're just starting out. In between trading sessions, many traders rely on news and events for their market direction. As a result, the intermediate time frames are the most crowded with new information and sometimes contradictory ideas.
Take your trading to a higher level. Start gathering trading info outside the market hours and when you are not trading. Be ready, know what to expect, or follow in real-time, so you can take advantage of new opportunities as they appear.
See which trading strategy suits you here: Which Trader Personality Are You?
4. The two minute rule
Does it sometimes feel like you only ever have a few minutes to yourself each day? We know that feeling. That's where the two minute rule comes in. Developed by traders to help manage information overload, the two minute rule works on the premise that you will be more efficient if you group similar tasks and complete them all at once. This rule is not limited to two minutes, but it's a good start.
The two minute rule encourages you to set aside time once every day to review your list of tasks and squeeze as much productivity as possible into just two minutes. What can you achieve in one minute? That's right—two minutes' worth of work! So, in order to make the most out of your two-minute sessions, you must prioritise which tasks to get done first.
5. Don’t multitask
Multitasking creates its own kind of attention overload because our brain thinks we're getting loads of information when we are not. When you're multitasking, your brain isn't as effective at absorbing information. When you give it a single task to focus on, you enhance your ability to absorb valuable information. So if you only have twenty minutes on a weekday evening to dedicate to trading, use those twenty minutes to JUST focus on trading. You could complete one course, a chapter of a book, or master one concept.
Make trading your new year's resolution (no, it isn't too late!) - see our resolutions for traders here>>
6. Get rid of distractions
It’s essential to maximise the time you spend analysing and digesting information to make better decisions to manage information overload. Learn how to handle that glut of data effectively. That means stifling distractions and turning off notifications.
Whenever you receive an alert, and it becomes difficult to concentrate, turn it off. You will begin to focus more, and with luck, you will achieve a sense of peace in the workplace. Also, keep the same computer you trade on, and multiple browser windows open instead of various monitors.
Stay tuned for more in the Make It Happen series for practical tips on learning forex as a total beginner and getting your head in the trading game...