A Day in the Life of a Professional Forex Trader
Most retail Forex traders who make it to the level of full-time or professional trading have a daily routine that is probably a lot different than what most amateur traders imagine. In reality, most professional traders interact with the market far less frequently than what most people might suspect, and this is especially true for pro traders who trade price action on the daily and four hour charts like I do.
I would like to take you on a trip through an average daily routine of a professional Forex price action trader. You might be surprised by some of what you read in today’s article. The point is to provide you with some insight into what full-time trading is all about. This insight will give you a clearer picture of the things you need to change or do in your current trading routine to help you become a professional trader.
• Get a good start to the trading day.
A professional trader knows that being in top mental condition is very important for sticking to a Forex trading plan and for analyzing the charts with the correct mindset. Since the mind and the body are intimately connected and have a great influence on one another, it’s necessary to make sure that your body is in peak condition if you want your mind to also be in peak condition.
Thus, the professional trader starts off each trading day with a healthy breakfast, waking up at a nice early hour so that the day does not slip away, and so that their trading routine gets started consistently each day. Professional traders treat trading as a business, since that’s what it is; they don’t trade haphazardly or leave anything to chance.
Another important part of any pro trader’s daily routine is exercise. We will touch on this later in the article, but for now it’s important to note that some pro traders exercise first thing in the morning. Exercising before you do anything else with your day is a great way to get the oxygen flowing into your brain and get your body feeling good for the day’s activities. If you want to have a healthy brain you need to exercise your body, studies show that people who exercise regularly have more efficient and effective brain activity than people who do not exercise. Remember, the mind and body are connected, so what you do with and to your body will directly influence your mind and the way that you think.
• Check the markets.
After getting the trading day started on the right foot by exercising (if they exercise in the morning) and eating a healthy breakfast, professional traders then turn their attention to the markets for the first time that day.
The first thing any pro trader does when interacting with the markets each day is to check any open trades from the previous day. Depending on what happened over-night a professional trader will have to adjust the stop losses on any open positions, update their trading journal, or perhaps do nothing. If the pre-determined plan was to trail stops on an open position, a pro trader will take the time to find the most logical place to trail their stops up to, assuming the position has moved in their favor. If any trades have closed out over night, hitting either the target or stop loss level, a professional Forex trader will update their trading journal / spreadsheet to reflect these changes. This act of creating and updating a trading journal is very important, it’s what helps to keep you accountable and it is definitely one thing that separates professional traders from amateurs. Professional traders will always have some way of keeping a track record, it’s important to see your trading results over-time, because pro traders know that trading success is measured over a long series of trades rather than just a couple weeks of trading results.
As far as the best times to trade Forex, it really doesn’t make as big of a difference as what most amateur traders might think. More importantly, you should aim to check the markets at two or three pre-defined times each day, so that it becomes a routine and so that you are more likely to treat trading like a business. Professional traders are more likely to check the markets in the morning, after the morning routine described in the section above, and then at the close of either the New York or Europe trading session, which ever session close comes first for them.
• How do professional traders analyze their charts?
When a professional Forex trader analyzes their charts, they know exactly what they are looking for. This is because they have learned to master one Forex trading strategy at a time, and after fully mastering their trading strategy they don’t need to guess or spend hours staring at their charts. The ability to know exactly what you are looking for in the markets allows you to spend minimal time checking the markets and analyzing the charts.
The professional trader trades a small basket of markets, they are very familiar with their favorite currency pairs and the setups that they are looking for, and this makes for much more efficient and effective analysis of the markets. As a pro trader checks their charts they are looking for their edge in the market, if their edge is present and it meets their risk reward parameters, they will enter the trade and walk away until the next scheduled market analysis time. Professional traders also will update their trading journals upon entering into a new trade; each time a trade is exited or entered it’s important to update your trading journal.
The key point here is that professional traders have dedicated trading times, they have mastered their trading strategy, and they know what the best currency pairs to trade are. This allows them to have a defined trading routine where nothing is left to chance. Pro traders also know the value of the set and forget forex trading strategy. They don’t meddle with their trades once they enter them, and they don’t sit there and stare at them for no reason. The professional trader spends far less time interacting with the market than what most amateurs think, this is because there is simply no reason to spend hours staring at your charts if you know what you are looking for in the markets and you have a set Forex trading routine.
• Professional traders take time off from the markets.
Professional traders know the value of removing themselves from the markets. One of the hardest things for newbie traders to accept is that it’s often what you don’t do in the market that determines whether or not you’re successful. That might seem a bit strange, but the fact of the matter is that once you know exactly what you are looking for in the markets because you have truly mastered your trading edge, there is simply no value in spending vast amounts of time analyzing your charts. In fact, most traders do more damage to their trading accounts from over-trading and over-analyzing than from anything else.
Pro traders know that after any live trade, whether it’s a winner or a loser, the best thing to do is remove their self from the market for a period of time. We are typically most emotional immediately after a trade closes out, whether it wins or loses. So, the easiest way to avoid making emotional trading mistakes is to simply do something else after a trade; remove yourself. It’s important to have hobbies and goals outside of trading; trading should not be the focus of your life. One of the biggest attractions of professional trading is that it can provide freedom and give us more time to live our lives. So it is a curious notion that so many amateur traders spend every free minute they have staring at their charts or reading economic news. As we discussed previously, once you master your trading strategy, spending large amounts of time interacting with the market is going to hurt you more than help you.
Professional traders are not sitting up all night burning their eyes out by staring at the charts and watching every little tick of the market. Getting a good night’s rest is very important to successful long-term trading. If you only take one thing away from this article it should be this: after you check the markets each day and enter or adjust your trades, you should then do something else for at least 4 to 8 hours. Go the gym, take a class, meet up with some friends, whatever you do don’t sit there and mull over your trade and think that this will somehow help your chances of making money. Professional traders spend minimal time interacting with the markets each day, they know that the markets are just a tool, this tool can either be used to better their lives or it can use them by taking their money. When you try to control the market by messing around with your trades and staring at them for hours, you are being used by the market. Learn to use the market like the pros do and live your life, master the price action trading strategies that I teach and learn to control yourself, this is the fastest way to Forex trading success.
41 Comments Leave a Comment
agree Niel but, for a Swing Trader or position
but there are other categories like scalper, and daytrader making several shops each day has its discipline and are winners
Excellent article Nial, clears up a lot of the mystery of pro trading, and helps me visualise my future.
After working 6/7 day weeks for the last 15 years, I look forward to the intervals away from successful trading to do the things i want to do.
It is so very GENEROUS and KIND of you to FREELY GIVE of yourself to help wannabee traders. Though not yet consistently profitable, your teaching has improved my results to the point where they give me the courage to believe that I too will become successful in this awe-ful and awesome business.
Great article. From my years of experience in can tell that every line of this article is true.
When you try to control the market by messing around with your trades and staring at them for hours, you are being used by the market.
I agree, very true.
Neat article Nial, definitely makes a lot of sense, so much so that I’ve bookmarked it, so I can remind myself of it each time I err on the side of overtrading.
thax , my advice is that even scalpers who tend to be all the time on the laptop to benefit from small pips need time to relax and come in the markets when they feel are ready than suffering from all the time chart analysis palalysis.
You are totally RIGHT… I try to solve this problem that I have and thanks to your article, you motivate me and show me the good way
Thanks Nail for all of your articles, that kind of support is priceless for me. Keep walking Nail.
Greetings from Poland:) (Central Europe)
Nial, you are like a Bigger Hedge fund!
Thanks Nial. When reading this article it’s like reading my daily routine which I have experience that this is the best way to be in a good mental set when you eat healthy food and exercise. With this I have seen an improvement in my daily analysis and trades performance over the last two months. Nonetheless, trading journal is very important aspect of keeping a record of your trades and at least go and analyse them every quarter and learn from those mistakes. I am now succeeding to become like a professional trader.
unique consideration of trading. I’m really drawn to it and will make every arrempt to have it work for me..
Nial – your wisdom comes from a place well beyond your years my young friend. Your sage advice is pricless.
EVERY time I scale back and take a DAILY view of the markets, they become clearer, less cluttered AND give you what we’re all striving for…more time!
Good article thanks Nial.
thank u very much for yr usefull article.
i am very appreciative for yr support.
wonderful article that makes a lot of sense and is reinforced by bit of humour/bart board.
please keep up the good work
Thank you Nial.
I have always enjoyed reading and following your article!
I am turning to full-time trading very soon and following your advice and trading style surely give me more confidence.
i wish to have an opportunity to meet you personally one fine day.
I am from singapore.
thank”s for the cool article. cheers andrew
Professor Nail,thanks for the article.Quite insightful.the Lord will continue to prosper your effort.
Thanks, fantastic ideas. You are proffesor trader.
My trading improve a lots.
Another excellent article, thanks for taking the time to help educate people about forex. Your advice is very different from how I first imagined forex trading to be, hence the steep (but rewarding) learning curve! The set and forget routine makes forex much more enjoyable and takes much of the stress out of trading. Thanks again!
Thanks for writing this article, what I was looking for when I sent you that suggestion list.
Your analysis of the market is awesome. you are right, daily and 4hrs is the way to lasting profit in this business.
Thanks a million. Hoping to get the advanced course soon.
“….it’s often what you don’t do in the market that determines whether or not you’re successful.”
What a lovely phrase!!!!!!!!! :) ;) :D
Good work nial. Overtrading has cost me a pretty penny recently. no doubt discipline is the key. i think many amateurs like myself, believe that you need to be entering a trade every day to be successful. obviously this is not the case. Keep up the good work.
Thank you Nial,as always your lessons are so good.
Thanks so much for teaching about ALL aspects of trading. By far I have become so much more of a relaxed trader from reading your articles and taking the course. MUCH APPRECIATED!
This is a highly professional article where it’s really deriving the path to be a professional trader.
Excellent presentation. Keep it up Nial.
What a fantastic article. I was home today, and commited the cardinal sin of meddling with a trade, ie moved my limit so took 1:1.4 RR, and 3hrs later it hit my original limit for 1:2 RR . I think I’m going to frame this article because it is so important.
Your a top guy Nial, many thanks Steve
thanks for the comments and support
We cant hear this to often. Thanks Nial.
Hope you are well. Thank you for another fantastic and priceless lesson.
Thank you for all your help
Thanks and Regards
Another article on Discipline. Nial is really doing all of us a pure service by driving home how to stay disciplined. Tough act to follow, but there is simply no other choice. God bless you, Nial.
Great Great Great article. I used to think that the pros look at the charts all day long but then I started your course and learned your PA strategies and I know better than to stare at charts all day long like I thought I should be doing when I first started trading Forex. We are all taught that you get out of something what you put into it. So The more hours and effort I put into trading should’ve meant that I will master it and make money. Actually the worse I did lol. You have to be a contrarian type thinker when it comes to the trading world and I’m seeing that now. Thanks Nial for all the wisdom.
Thanks so much,i must confess your price action strategies do work!, pls Nial is it right to study the positions of the dollar index and stock indexes before placing a trade?.
Sounds like a wise approach and one I hope to emulate.
This article is so cute…love the Bart board!!
Nial, Thank you for holding the mirror. Through this article I know I’m on the right track.
words of wisdom for sure…
Nial , since i started your course and took your advice on only trading daily charts my losses are far fewer. as tempted as i am to look at the lower frames i stick to what you originaly taught me and being disciplined has paid off.
Nial, you are an amazing person. Your ideas, strategies and all your lessons, courses and videos, are excellent. I have joined your course, and have followed you for some time, I and all of us students of forex trading are very appreciative of all that you do. I am now becoming a better trader each day, I have actually started to make money thanks to you, things are getting better slowly and steadily. You rock.. :)