It’s very important to your long-term trading performance that you have a proper area in your house to trade from, because your environment has a direct influence on your mindset, and your mindset has a huge affect on your overall trading performance.
This article will teach you how to set up your trading room or office and adjust your lifestyle to achieve optimal trading results.
Every trader has a slightly different living situation and budget that has an influence on how they setup their trading room and what equipment they decide to use.
Ultimately, no matter what your specific situation is, you should aim to design your Forex trading room or office with just the right combination of practicality and comfort.
• Forex trading furniture
The furniture that you use to trade from is very important. If you have enough room in your house or apartment, you should definitely have a decent size computer desk to trade from. L-shaped desks that you put in the corner of a room seem to work very well if you plan on having multiple monitors, or if you just need more desk space in general. Otherwise, you at least need a desk big enough for a laptop. If you have absolutely no room for a desk, you can buy a small platform to set your laptop on so that you can comfortably work with your computer on your lap without it getting too hot.
The next major piece of trading furniture that you need to consider is your computer chair. I personally recommend investing in a high-quality computer chair. Having a comfortable computer chair to trade from makes the time you spend at your trading desk much more relaxing and enjoyable; you don’t want to be sitting in a chair that causes you pain or that just isn’t comfortable, this is not something you need distracting you from the process of price action analysis. If you are crunched for space you may simply elect to get a bean bag chair and throw it in the corner of your room or dorm, but whatever you do make sure you have a comfortable place to sit while trading and studying the markets.
One very important point to consider is that a clutter-free work environment helps foster a clutter-free mind. So, when deciding on your trading desk and the area you will trade in; make sure you arrange it to be as clutter-free and clean as possible.
There are many options when it comes to which computer you will use to trade from. However, there are some basic guidelines that you should follow when considering the computer(s) you will use to trade the Forex market.
First off, you want to be sure that the particular computer(s) you use is robust and relatively new, has an up-to-date antivirus/firewall, and can handle incoming data feeds in real time while running other applications. The last thing you want is for your computer to freeze up as you are trying to enter (or exit) a trade. Basically, you want to make sure your computer is in a good running state before you start trading from it, you definitely do not want to skimp out on quality when it comes to your main trading computer. Newer and faster is definitely better when it comes to computer hardware, you can get a good machine with plenty of memory, hard drive space, and processor power for relatively little money these days.
As far as how many computers you need to trade with; you at least need one reliable computer, and if you only have one it should ideally be a laptop. Ideally, you will have at least two computers; one desktop and one laptop with a good battery life, if the power goes out you are going to be really glad you have a laptop with a good battery, it may be the only way to get out of a trade if your house or office loses power. A laptop also provides you with mobility, you can trade from anywhere with an internet connection and a laptop. If you don’t have a laptop then you should buy a UPS (uninterruptible power supply), which will provide your desktop computer with electricity for a period of time if the power does go out.
I personally prefer PCs, as I have heard traders sometimes have problems running trading software on a Mac; this often involves having to install virtual PC software so that you can run Windows on the Mac. However, Java based trading platforms typically have no troubles on a MAC, nor does web-based software.
If you can afford to get multiple monitors then you should definitely consider it. It can be helpful and more enjoyable to have one monitor for just analyzing the charts and another for placing trades and viewing quotes. However, this is by no means necessary, and it’s really just a luxury thing.
Also, there is the argument that traders with numerous monitors become “data junkies”, which can distract you and cause confusion. Limiting yourself to one monitor will force you to focus your attention on one thing at a time and help to eliminate the possibility of “analysis paralysis”, this is especially important early-on in your trading career, and then as you gain experience you might decide you are ready for a multi-monitor setup.
• Internet and T.V.
Trading is all about data; you need a fast internet connection for incoming live data feed and fast trade execution. You cannot afford to have a slow internet connection or an unreliable one while trading. If you can get a better connection speed from you internet service provider, you definitely should do so, I suggest getting the fastest and most robust internet connection within your budget. Some traders chose to have a back-up dialup connection; however this is unnecessary as long as your primary provider is robust.
There is no need to rush out and spend money on premium charting platforms or data feeds; most of what you will need is available online for free. You can download the correct New York close charts here: Forex trading charts and many websites such as Yahoo!, MSN, and Reuters are excellent sources of news and investment information. What you do not need is a T.V. in your trading room blasting CNBC or any other financial TV program, typically these programs are distractions because they are little more than opinions of “experts” who are probably better commentators than traders.
• Office supplies
Now, let’s discuss some of the “random” office supplies that you will likely need to have in your Forex trading room. First off, it never hurts to have a dry erase board; you can record your forex trading plan on a dry erase board and hang it on the wall your trading desk so that you are forced to read it every day prior to trading. Dry erase boards are also convenient for jotting down any number of important notes or ideas you may have while trading and learning to trade.
You are also likely to need a printer and scanner, as there will be times you may want to print out charts or account statements, you may also need to scan documents to send them into your broker, such as if you have a change of address. Printers are relatively cheap these days, I suggest getting a printer / scanner / copier combination, there are a lot of good options out there for these that give you all three items in one.
Some of the other random office products that you might need include things like post-it notes, a stapler, and a trading journal or perhaps a binder. As you learn to trade Forex, it’s important to keep a trading journal so that you can learn what works and what doesn’t; it also helps you develop a track record and keeps you accountable. You can eventually keep track of your trades in a spreadsheet, but you may want to get a 3-ring binder to print the charts of trades you take while learning, this will give you a tangible trading record that you can use to learn from.
• Creating the atmosphere
Most traders don’t give much thought to their trading environment, but the truth is that it’s very important, and considering most of us are trading from home, there’s a lot you can do to create a relaxing trading atmosphere.
One important point to consider is that if you have a lot of room in your house, you should try to trade from the quietest part of your house. A room that is somewhat secluded or away from the nosiest parts of your house or apartment is most ideal. The idea is to create a focused and relaxed atmosphere where you can concentrate fully on the processes of learning to trade and analyzing the charts.
You may want to hang a nice picture in your trading room, something that calms your nerves and is perhaps pleasing or motivating to look at. Music is another big factor in creating the right trading atmosphere, if you need to relax and “drown out” the distractions that might be taking place in your house, put on some relaxing music like jazz or classical, put on some headphones if you need to. Whatever music that you consider to be relaxing and(or) motivating, is good to listen to while trading the markets; whatever it takes to help you get into the “zone”.
• Other considerations
You need to consider your physical health as well. You cannot trade effectively if you are not getting enough sleep or are feeling physically ill. It is important to get rest, eat a healthy diet, and get some exercise, trading is not the easiest profession to excel in, so we really need to put the odds in our favor as much as we can. This means controlling things that we can control, like diet, exercise, and rest. You cannot control the market, but you can control your own mind, and part of maintaining a mindset conducive to profitable trading is taking care of your body, because the body affects the mind.
Finally, forex trading is a lonely endeavor. For the sake of your mental health you might want join an online trading community, because you might not have anyone else in your daily life that you can discuss your trading activities with. Plus, it’s always good to learn from others who are more experienced than you and bounce ideas off them. Check out my price action forex trading forum and price action forex course for more information.