It can be challenging to find enough time for trading when you have other significant time commitments. But the good news is that the forex market is immensely flexible, allowing you to schedule your trading around a busy lifestyle. Here are some tips on how to free up more time in your week for trading the forex market, and how to trade forex with a full time job - whether you've just started trading or want to know more about how to make more 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.
Tips on How to Trade Forex with a Full Time Job
Keep a log of your trading or education
Whether you've started trading or you're beginning to dedicate some time to learn the basics of the market, keeping a log of your activity is undoubtedly a good thing.
This is a tip that applies to all traders, but especially so for those with limited time. Without thorough documentation of the trades you are making and why you are making them, it can be especially difficult for you to analyse how you’re doing and how to improve your performance if you can’t put a lot of time into figuring it out after the fact. The same goes for education: make a note of the courses you take, the jargon you need to look up next session, and what you'd like to study next.
By keeping meticulous notes on your trades or education, you can easily and quickly make sense of your trading activity, which will put you in that much better a position to plan for the next week. Keeping a trading log will immediately tell you the particulars of each trade you made, the price you bought at, the spread, the reason why you bought it. This information is invaluable when it comes to analysing your past activity to figure what went right (or wrong).
Lacking motivation to make the time to trade, or not sure how to commit to your dream? Read our tips on discovering your motivation behind trading, and how to make a great trading plan that suits you>>
Use your weekends wisely
When it comes down to trading itself, the retail forex market is closed on weekends. You can interpret this in one of two ways:
- Take time to research: You can use the weekend to analyze your trades or the market during the past week and plan your activity for the coming week, or you can use it to do things completely unrelated to trading so you can free up time for trading during the week. Since the forex market is closed, you can use the weekend as a natural breather to analyse what has happened and figure out what you will do the next week. This is made all the easier by keeping a trading log, as mentioned above. This natural downtime is also ideal for researching and for learning more about the forex market.
- Clear up your work week: Another way to take advantage of the weekend is to use it to clear up some of your week. If your job is flexible, you may be able to clear off some time during the week by doing some work on the weekend. You could then use the newly freed time during the week for trading on the live market. If you have weekly chores that simply must get done, you can block off part of the weekend and do them all in bulk and free up time during the week that way.
Stepping back to the desk? Read the ultimate trading mindset checklist>>
Keep track of your time
The first step in figuring out how to make more time is to figure out where all your time is going. The way to do that is to audit your time. Keep a time log of all your activities for an entire week. After a typical week, you can see where your time is going. Hopefully, you will be able to find areas in your week that can be more efficiently allocated. For example, if you do one thing every day, perhaps you could do a week’s worth of these tasks all at one time, or save certain jobs for the weekend so you have more time in the week. You may find blocks of time that serve no real purpose at all.
Still stuck for time? Read our blog on 5 Tips for Fitting Trading Around Your Day Job>>
Identify your prime trading time
After you have logged your time for a week or so, you may be able to identify a good time of the week to block off for your trading. This will depend greatly upon your responsibilities and personal style. Some people are night owls and will prefer to trade during the late-night hours. Others are early risers. Still, others have children and their prime trading hours may commence once the little ones are put to bed. The idea behind finding your prime trading time is finding a regular daily time when you can focus on your trading, one that aligns with your schedule, responsibilities, and personal preferences.
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>>
Identify the forex pairs or strategies for your trading shift
Once you have identified a block of time when you can trade, you will want to find what pairs and trading strategies are in play during that time frame. As forex is a global market, the activity of currency pairs corresponds with the parts of the world where those currencies are the most heavily traded.
For example, the evening hours in the UK coincide with the afternoon in New York. This means that currency pairs involve the U.S. dollar (USD) are heavily traded during this time. As EUR/USD is the most heavily traded currency pair of all, this makes it the optimal trading pair for evening traders in the UK. USD/CAD and EUR/CAD may also garner some interest. Those who prefer later hours will find the Asia-Pacific session open and be able to trade USD/JPY and other pairs involved the Japanese Yen, Australian dollar, and New Zealand dollar.
See which trading strategy suits you here: Which Trader Personality Are You?
Don’t forget a stop loss
This tip applies to all traders, but it is of special significance to those who are not constantly watching the market. When you step away from the market, the truth is that anything can happen. Setting a stop loss ensures that even when the market turns against your trade, you are still protected from catastrophic losses. Stop losses are the most rudimentary risk management for all traders and should always be in place when you open a trade even if you plan to watch your monitor like a hawk because life can always happen and cause you to be distracted.
How to trade forex with a full time job: the secret
The secret to trading forex with a full time job is commitment, determination and motivation. Remember why you want to start trading in the first place, and be determined enough to follow your dreams. Be flexible in your thinking: what can you do with the time you have? How can you clear up time for yourself? Can you cut down on other tasks or commitments during the week, and move them to the weekend?
It can be a tight fit but trading forex can be done with significant time commitments, even with a full-time job. Other types of trading like stocks and commodities are not as flexible in terms of session open and close. This means that forex is the best bet for those looking for a market they can trade that fits with their career or busy life. Just remember to unplug every so often to keep your mind fresh. You've got this!
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...