How Time Consuming is Forex Trading?
How much time do you actually need to spend in front of the charts, sitting watching the Forex markets? I’m sure many of us at the beginning of our trading careers had the initial image of traders needing to be stuck sat in front of their computer screens day in day out, fixated on their charts, drinking copious amounts of coffee and constantly placing trades throughout the day but is this the reality and the only approach available to us?
In this article I will show you an alternative method of monitoring your charts, utilising different techniques and tools to produce a much more time efficient, calm and productive approach to trading. I will show you how you do not have to be stuck in front of your computer screens all day long to still remain highly effective.
Time frames and Forex pairs
The time frames you use to hunt for trades dictates the frequency at which you need to come to check the charts. So, it stands to reason that if you trade the 5 minute chart you will be needing to assess the charts much more frequently than if you only traded the daily time frame.
I personally have no interest in any of the lower time frames below the 1hr period and base all of my trading from the daily time frame, using only the lower time frames when I see fit.
Check out the article: Hunting for price action signals using lower time frames.
The number of Forex pairs you follow also effects your workload i.e. the more pairs you follow the more charts you have to consider, but this doesn’t mean you can’t follow 20 plus Forex pairs at one time, it just means you have to have a system in place to be able to monitor each pair effectively.
Having experience and confidence in your own ability to analyse the markets consistently and quickly is something which comes with time. Knowing where to hunt for trades and when to use the lower time frames correctly is where you save vast amounts of time at the charts. Having a clear idea of where you want price action signals to form, allows you to plan in advance, pick the trades you want and not have to follow the markets constantly.
Traders on the other hand who follow the markets too closely and for long continuous periods of time, can fall victim to getting sucked into taking trades from areas where they would probably not normally consider and this can be attributed to traders feeling pressure to take a trade to justify themselves as traders.
Price alerts play a huge role in reducing the time required to be in front of the charts. The way it works is simple, once you have analysed each Forex pair you follow, you can set a price alert at the level at which you consider is a good place to hunt for trades on each particular pair. When price hits the desired level, the price alert is triggered and you are notified via email or text, you can then check the pair for any price action signals.
Price alerts also play a role in managing trades, because you can set price alerts at the stop loss, entry, take profits, etc.., which means that you can leave a trade alone and only make modifications to the trade once it hits your set targets.
Price alerts allow you to step away from the markets in confidence that you still have eyes on the markets and because they are doddle to set up the amount of time they save you is dramatic.
There are lots of price alert providers to choose from but my personal favourite and the only one I use, is offered by “trade interceptor” it offers every pair you could want and the service is free.
Trading on the go
Before smart phones and tablets existed, trading on the go was not an option available to us but with today’s technology and connectivity it makes trading on the go a very, very easy thing to do indeed. Being able to enter/exit a trade, or reduce a stop loss with no fuss at all means you are not required to be stuck in front of the computer screens to trade. Basically, it’s resulted in traders being able to trade from pretty much anywhere they like.
Staying informed and up-to-date with the current market movements by utilizing the advances in technology and connectivity to the internet has freed traders from their screens and introduced a degree of freedom which we all desire.
With every broker offering a trading App which you can download onto your phone or tablet, trading is now a very versatile and accessible business to be in.
Having a trading routine in place
If you treat trading as a real business you will understand the need for a set routine and proper working hours, knowing when to work and when to relax is important and healthy. It’s very easy to get sucked into the markets and feel like you need to be at the charts 24/7 in case you miss a trade. This is a dangerous habit to get into because it’s very easy to burn yourself out by becoming too involved in the markets.
If you find the markets start to dictate your way of life, a classic example of this is if you stay up through the night just to catch a trade, you are in too deep. You need to know when to switch off from trading and be able turn the charts off and get a good night’s sleep.
Be sensible, set your working hours up and stick to them, even if you have a full-time job, set aside a certain time window each day to come to the markets and try to keep it consistent.
Example of my trading day
To give you an idea of how I use my time to trade throughout the week, here’s my average working day:
6.00am – 9.00am – breakfast and family time before kids go to school
9.30am – 3.00pm – trading time, the 10.00am and 2.00pm closes are my favourite times to check on my pairs (takes 5 minutes if that). Inbetween checking the charts for setups I work on the website, forum, writing articles, etc….
3.00pm – 9.00pm – family time, pick kids up from school, dinner, etc…
9.30pm – check the charts to see how the daily closes are looking, then bed.
Overall unless a particular Forex pair is in a selected hunting zone I will only actually be looking at the charts for around 10 -15 minutes per day, max. Granted when a Forex pair does hit a good hunting zone I will check the lower time frames frequently, going down as low as the 1hr charts and so this eats a lot more of my time up.
Weekends are free and just involve family time, taking kids to football, etc…. except on Sunday evening when I check all of my pairs to see which are close to hunting zones for the upcoming week, making any adjustments to my key levels and then write and post the members only “Heads Up”.
Do you spend too much time at the charts?
The purpose of this article is to show you how flexible trading can be and how you don’t necessarily need to be glued to your computer monitor 24/7 to be effective. Even if you have a full-time job, trading can be fitted around your current commitments. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing because trading allows us to pick and choose when to trade, so you can adjust your trading hours accordingly to suit your own needs.
You can’t get around the fact that trading does require a vast amount of time spent learning how to trade the Forex markets consistently but once you have accumulated the required skills and the trust in your own ability, the time required to actually trade reduces considerably.
Trading could even be described as being slightly boring once experienced enough but this comes about because you just understand and have come to terms with what the markets are really about, realising it’s not a game or something personal but just business.
The main attraction that draws people into trading is the promise of freedom, both financially and lifestyle wise but trading can have a nasty habit of producing the opposite effect and can sometimes become more of an obsession, consuming a trader up completely. You need to know when to work and when to play.
Setting in place a set routine/trading hours to your daily routine introduces a structure every trader requires to keep a healthy and productive workload. Time is a very precious commodity and with our modern day lives full to the brim with lots of other commitments, spending and managing it wisely is key.
So if you find yourself spending too much time at the charts, there are things you can do to reduce your trading workload and give you the freedom to step away from your screens, which include;
- Using price alerts, which is probably the biggest time saver
- Basing your trading from the higher time frames i.e. the daily period, whilst still utilising the lower time frames properly
- Having a set routine/working hours you abide by
- Using trading Apps to stay connected when away from your computer.
By introducing these options into your trading, means you are still kept in touch with what the markets are doing but the requirement to be physically sat in front of the charts day in day out is reduced. What’s the point in watching the markets, if there are no Forex pairs in good hunting zones? Why waste time watching price move through No Man’s Land?
Instead let price do its own thing and if it does enter a good hunting zone, this is the time that you need to switch on the charts and hunt for the price action signals.
Remember, you are the boss not the markets, keep a consistent and rigid trading routine and be patient.
I hope this article has given you some ideas about how you can streamline your time spent looking at the charts and I would really like to hear your thoughts regarding this topic. Add any comments below.