Houses over 4,000 square feet drive me nuts. I’d rather rent houses as I travel the world than get the life sucked out of me trying to maintain more ‘stuff.’
In my stockbroker heyday, I owned a big house. Now, I live in a reasonably sized house. Why? Because big houses and expensive toys demand too much of my attention.
A big house demands more furniture. Owning more stuff demands a small army of caretakers.
The stuff I do own must turn a profit. I have zero patience for distractions and liabilities.
My focus should be on trading. My goal is to put money to work, investing in only the best opportunities. To find the best deals in stocks, alternative investments, business, and real estate, I’ve got to be laser-focused.
I don’t expect everyone to adopt my beliefs and live like me. However, there’s a recurring theme here that translates to becoming a more profitable trader: Less is more!
If you’re ready to optimize your focus for trading, I recommend you follow these four steps:
- De-clutter your visual space
- De-clutter your office environment
- De-clutter your digital world
- De-clutter your mind
The goal is to subtract, or remove, all the things that are stealing your focus.
Step 1 – De-clutter Your Visual Space
In this case, what I mean by ‘visual space’ is the area you look at when you most need to be focused. I.e., when you’re trading.
The easiest way to stay visually focused as you trade is to set up a multi-monitor trading computer. And then, display only the essential data.
When you have too many things to look at, you will lack mental focus. Princeton University’s Neuroscience Institute has explained how easily visual data like charts and trading alerts compete for our attention.
So don’t set up 20 monitors with 75 indicators. That’s way too distracting. Be more strategic.
At the same time, you should be able to easily view your critical charts, indicators, and watch lists without having to click through multiple screens.
That’s why I’ve written about assigning a job to each monitor on your multiple-monitor trading computer.
Most of my customers purchase our Quad Monitor Package with their trading computer. Four monitors gives you just enough surface area for an efficient workspace without creating visual overload.
Step 2 – De-clutter Your Office
Remove the piles of books and papers from your work area. This frees up mental space. Believe it or not, leaving stacks of stuff on your desk is a burden to your brain.
Productivity experts recommend getting in the habit of cleaning your workspace each day.
Yes, your desk will get messy during the day. At the end of every day, take 5 minutes and re-set your space. Put files back in the cabinet and books back on the shelf. A clean desk with a single notebook and a pen is all you need. (And maybe not even that.)
Step 3 – De-clutter Your Digital World
Having too many emails, alerts, and other digital clutter is robbing your focus. Start reclaiming your focus by attacking two of the worst culprits: Your computer desktop and your email inbox.
It’s easy to let your computer desktop get messy. Don’t! Having to look at a spaghetti mess of icons, open windows, and even busy backgrounds on your computer’s desktop is using up brain power that could be spent trading.
It’s tempting to just avoid your inbox because of the 100+ spam or informational emails you probably get each day. Don’t! Your brain is fully aware of the tasks you need to get to, including wading through that bulging inbox.
Rather than ignoring the problem, cut back on email subscriptions to the most important stuff. Then set up automated filters to help you manage the daily incoming tide.
Step 4 – De-clutter Your Mind
We tend to think if we put our problems out of our minds, they won’t bother us. Unfortunately, our brains are still worrying about things in the background, and this subverts our efforts to focus.
Instead, write down the problems you are having with your trading. Before you start reacting based on a temporary feeling, put your knee-jerk into words to avoid trading emotionally. Write down where you are stuck and why.
According to a UCLA study, writing down what you’re feeling can reduce the feeling itself. Some of the brightest business people I know are very diligent about journaling every day or writing out their problems and solutions.
And remember the old pros vs. cons list you learned to make in junior high? A simple list like this can be very helpful.
Being more profitable starts with optimizing, or tweaking, what’s working. You also must get rid of what’s not working.
Now that you know what to get rid of, try just one of these tips right away to get yourself started towards a more focused, productive, and profitable trading day tomorrow.
We hope today’s Quick Tip helped you. If you found this helpful, you’ll want to check out the other computer How-To’s I’ve created on this page. You can always call us if you have questions: 800-387-5250