Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Trading Schedule

I've been meaning to put together a structured trading schedule for a while now, and although I don't know what the optimum schedule is, Ill start with the following (all times are Chicago/Central time zone). This doesn't include:

8:15 AM (7:15 AM for Early Econ Release)
  • Power up the charting platform and snap lines to mark the Globex support/resistance levels. This information will assist me in making sense of the opening range (first 15-minutes of market open)
  • Check for News and U.S. Economic Data
8:30 AM - 8:45 AM
  • Extra caution during opening range. Indicators are relatively useless during this period. Focus is on overnight support/resistance as well as significant pivot from prior day's price action.
8:45 AM - 11:30 AM
  • This is GO TIME. Active trading. Take every setup that offers favorable risk/reward in direction of trend.
11:30 AM - 12:45 PM
  • Lunch time. Step away from the screens!
12:45 PM - 1:00 PM
  • Return to screens. Assess current price action and prepare for 1 PM.
1:00 PM - 2:45 PM
  • GO TIME. Active Trading. Take every setup that offers favorable risk/reward in direction of trend.
2:45 PM - 3:15 PM
  • In general, avoid entering new positions and look to close out open positions. Sometimes this time-frame does offer "gifts" so be extremely selective in initiating a new trade. No hard fast rule to "stay out of trades". This is a trade settlement time-frame, where traders may be exiting losing trades to avoid holding overnight, so be extra mindful of the winners and losers based on the day's price action.
I'll update and tweak this schedule as I see fit, but I think this is a good first draft. If you have any thoughts or recommendations, post away in the comments section.


  1. Sounds like a plan to me! I think this will help you in the long run. Just don't get caught up in the "oh man, I missed X because I was at lunch".

    Over 50 trading days what you miss good and bad will even out!

  2. E-Mini,
    I can't comment on the specific times because I'm sure you've already put a lot of thought (i.e. planning based on the reality of what you see in the market each day)into it. But I can comment on the intention of it. I believe that self-imposed structure like this is vital for reaching trading goals. My own day is broken down in a similar way (even to what I can drink during the day). Anal? No. Mentally "in the game"? Yes. Creating this kind of structure and having the will-power to "make it work" each day goes a long way to building confidence in trading IMHO. There are those that "wing it" and then there are those that "plan it and execute it". And that phrase applies to more than just clicking the buy/sell button. It's a whole mindset thing that I continue to work on each day and it all builds up a brick at a time. I have a favorite saying (one of many).."You can't win the big battles until you win the small ones first". What we do before we ever click in an order is the small battle we have to excell at. Those small "victories" mentally set us up for bigger stuff to come. Here's a suggestion I find invaluable.....Don't assume you know what the day will be like coming into it. The economic news, world events, trading calendar, opinions of "experts" - none of it matters. Good opps can happen anyday. I see it over and over. So stick to your schedule every trading day and don't give yourself and "easy out" to slack off. Those are sometimes the days we really wish we could have back.

  3. emini,

    how do you handle meetings, people stopping by your desk for no good reason and other sort of work place disturbances?

  4. Shiva, I was laid off in March, so I have the full day to trade now.

  5. Thanks for the advice Chuck, really appreciate it!

  6. Nice job E-Mini Player. Couple of suggestions for you.

    First, I find it valuable to sync your computer clock so you can ensure later the trades still look the same. Not sure what time frames you're watching but the charts can change later.

    Second, you may want to consider more time off in the middle of the day. I find the doldrums start to hit around 11:30 Eastern time, which is 10:30 Central. You could take more time for lunch or errands, or just to let your mind refresh. You may want to track your trade success during the 10:30-11:30 time period and see if this time period works well with your style of trading.

    Third, I see from your reading that you appreciate the psychology of trading. Prior to every trading day, I do a session of Jake Bernstein's Trading Mind. It is incredibly beneficial.

    Fourth, you should always keep a trade journal for every trade sharing your thought process, emotional mindset and results. Give yourself a grade and analyze later.

    Hope this helps. SPMorningTrade

  7. SPMorningTrade, thanks for the suggestions. I'll definitely monitor my trading activity as well as the opportunities available in the 10:30-11:30 AM (central) time-frame.


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