10 Secrets to Becoming a More Productive Trader
While many of the challenges that come with binary options relate specifically to trading, others are more generally related to productivity. You may be a natural at trading and still have a hard time moving forward with your trading career if you are not a natural at managing your time and your workload. Do you feel like there are not enough hours in the day? Like you take the most indirect, challenging route to any destination? Like you create more problems than you solve when you take on a task? If so, it may be time to take an inventory of your habits. Here are 10 smart habits you can take on to become a more productive and successful binary options trader.
1. Create a prioritized to-do list.
Most of us have lists of tasks that we need to do. But is your list actually useful? Lists can actually bog us down in unnecessary peripheral work and keep us away from our most important obligations. If your list is not prioritized, you will probably be tempted to take on the easiest tasks first, and let the others wait until later. Unfortunately, the easiest tasks are often the least important ones, so the most critical tasks languish by the wayside. Have a look at your to-do list, and decide which tasks are the most essential. Make it a point of doing those tasks first, even if they are really involved.
2. Create a list of things to not do.
Productivity fails when we allow our time to be eaten up by pointless routines and distractions. Today, when you sit down to work, start listing the aimless distractions you allow yourself to be drawn into. How’s your environment? Do you waste time on Facebook? Do you get drawn into conversations with other people when you should be focusing on your trading? Do you find yourself playing Farmville when you should be testing a trading method? It is actually smart to take breaks as you are working, but they should be part of your schedule, not random. And you should think very carefully about what you do during those breaks.
3. Take smart, consistent, efficient breaks.
Research has demonstrated that most people work more efficiently when they give themselves routine breaks throughout the day. If you are sitting down to work on trading for the next three hours, you are likely to accomplish more during those three hours if you take a five-minute break every half hour (or on some other schedule that works for you—maybe every hour, or every hour and a half). How can taking a break make you more productive? It gives your mind a break from discipline. The longer you fight to stay disciplined, the harder it becomes. Doing something undisciplined for a few minutes can help recharge your mental batteries. You also may come back with a new perspective, and make a breakthrough you would not have made otherwise.
4. Set realistic goals.
One great way to stay productive on your path toward your goals is to set goals you can actually achieve. A great way to do this is to use the S.M.A.R.T. system. Goals that are SMART are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. When you set goals that do not conform to those rules, you are making things difficult for yourself. There is no worse time sink than a goal which you have no shot at ever reaching. You will strive and strive and get nowhere. SMART goals are typically much smaller than “I want to make a million dollars,” and may feel less inspiring to think about, but you will feel inspired as you knock them out one by one and start stacking up victories.
5. Work when you are at your best.
All of us have ups and downs in our energy levels and mental clarity throughout the day and night. Take advantage of your natural high periods. You will get more done during the course of an hour when you are alert and fresh and ready to rock than you will during an hour when you are fatigued, withdrawn, and unfocused. If you cannot plan to work during optimal times (because you have a day job for example), look for ways to optimize your physical and psychological state when you do work. Start up good habits like regular exercise, and get plenty of rest. This can help you to function better all the time. Also space out meals and snacks in such a way as to feed your body energy when you need it and avoid dips in your blood sugar.
6. Do one thing at a time.
We live in a culture where multitasking is highly touted as a superlative quality for any hard worker, but research results are mixed concerning its usefulness. Being able to juggle tasks when you have to do so is definitely an asset, but that does not mean you should choose to do it as a default. When you have the opportunity to really focus on one task at a time, you will often find that it is more productive to do so.
7. Do not respond to emails, messages, and calls throughout the day.
There is no reason for you to constantly respond to texts, calls, and voicemails throughout the day. Doing so can be incredibly distracting, and it is unnecessary. There is nobody who needs to hear from you right this minute. Set aside time to respond to messages and calls. If you just do this one to three times a day, you will not only have an easier time keeping up with your work, but you will probably also be able to have more meaningful interactions with others since you will be dedicating your full attention to them in the moment.
8. Work smart, not hard.
It is the oldest rule in the book, but it bears remembering. Sometimes we think if we are busy, it means we are being productive. This is often an illusion, though. Think about times in your past you have made huge leaps forward, whether with binary options trading or something else altogether. The great epiphanies often happen in a matter of moments, and the truly helpful steps we take forward may not always comprise weeks of worth. They do, sometimes, but always ask yourself whether you are taking the straightest route to reach your destination.
9. Stay focused on what is working and make it work better.
Another secret to productivity is to find something with potential and keep working on it to improve it. For example, maybe you have a binary options system that you have tested, and it wins about 71% of the time. Instead of going out and hunting for another system that wins 80% of the time, why not try re-testing that system that you already know delivers good results and tweak it until it produces better ones? You may very well save time and achieve the 80% you are looking for sooner with the system you already know has potential. In the process, you will also become a genuine expert at it, instead of knowing a little bit about a lot of systems. This will result in better trading, because you will be able to maximize not only your own productivity, but that of your system.
10. Seek accountability.
Having a hard time changing your habits to more productive ones on your own? One of the best ways to get more productive is to get someone else involved. If you have a trading coach, ask him or her to help you become more productive. See if that person has any suggestions for you. You may also want to get a friend or spouse or someone else you actually see each day help you out. Someone like this can support you, give you reminders to stay on target, and impose consequences for your failures.
Learning how to trade binary options is essentially learning how to run a business. When you are researching and testing, you are pursuing a higher education on your own, without a school and without teachers and grades. You need the same basic skills to succeed as you would in college or in the workplace. Productivity is one of the most vital. Just by following these simple tips, you can make real and far-reaching changes today, changes that will pay off tomorrow.