You often hear the phrase “maintaining a work-life balance” being thrown around by those that have a normal full-time job, or even two jobs. The whole idea of this phrase is that many people find it hard to juggle their work life and their home life and believe that they just do not have enough time to do both., this is one of the draws of forex trading, people see it as a way of getting away from the work grind, to be their own boss and to only work the hours that they want to. The problem is that this is not exactly the case, many traders actually find things harder than they would with a normal day job. You are now relying on your trading, every win and every loss has a much greater meaning, one that could affect your life.
So if people are finding the trade to life balance difficult, why do they continue? The problems that once you have made the plunge into full-time trading, it is very hard to actually get out of it. Remember, you are now reliant on income and your results. It will take time to find another job, so the only thing that you can do now is to work out a way to help you balance your life between your trading and your own time. There are a number of things that people do which make this difficult, we will be looking into them as well as looking at things that you can do to help give you a slightly better balance between your trading and everything else going on in your life.
Let’s jump straight into some of the downsides to having a bad trade to life balance, the first is pretty obvious, something is going to have to give. You cannot have either a lot of trading time or a lot of your time. If you put too much into one, then the other is going to suffer, so if you trade too much, you may lose other aspects of your life like time with your friends and family, or gym time, the things you enjoy doing. On the other side, if you have too much free time or time with your family, then you will not be able to trade as much and so may not be able to make enough to keep you afloat this month in terms of bills. So a balance needs to be met.
It is also not good for your health. Doing something for a long time can give you a number of different medical conditions. Long term or chronic stress can set in, especially if there is a lack of exercise in your day. Sitting in the same position for long periods of time can have a negative effect on your muscles, bones, and posture, something that you would want to try and avoid through movement and taking regular breaks. The problem with trading is that anything can happen at any moment which could affect the markets, this gives you the impression that when you have a trade on, you need to be there and ready to react to things that happen. In a sense this is true if you have not put things in place, however, there are ways to avoid this that we will look at later. Unfortunately, many people do not use them and so are stuck sitting at the computer or if not, constantly checking their phones which will no doubt annoy their partner.
Another thing that causes you to go a little off track in relation to your work-life balance is if you have set up your trading terminal at home. When you are working a job you have strict start and end times, something that is monitored by your manager or boss, this is not something that you experience at home. You chose when to start and so for many when first starting out, they may find their bed a little too comfortable, so comfortable that they do not want to get out of it, pushing your start time back and simpy meaning that you do not have enough time to trade and analyse properly.
So we have looked at some of the negatives, there are of course more of them, showing how tricky this can be, but there are other things that you can do to bring yourself back and to strike a much more healthy trade to life ratio, one that should keep you floating and your family and your wellbeing happy. So let’s take a look at what some of them could be.
The first thing that you need to do is to create a simple schedule, this will include some of the basic things like the time that you will start trading and the time that you will finish. It is important that you set this up as a work schedule, make it realistic, something that you will easily be able to stick to, if you make it too complicated or at different times each day it will be far harder to stick to and you will more likely start to slip out of it. Treat It like a job, you are going to work still, believe that it is like that and it will be easier to stick to and to force yourself out of that comfy bed.
So you have set up your schedule, but some of your trades go longer than your finish time, what can you do? You can either completely ruin the work that you have it in by constantly monitoring your trades when you are not meant to be, or you could use the simple things known as a stop loss and a take profit level. These allow your trading platform to automatically close trades when they get to a certain level, either positive or negative. This means that you no longer need to be actively monitoring your trades and terminal, you can let it do that for you, so now you can go off and concentrate on whatever it is that you were planning to do.
Some people wake up in the night wanting to trade, if this is you, then you need to be able to force yourself to stay in bed, do not get into the habit of getting up in the night to check your trades or to check the markets, not even on your phone. The more you do it, the harder it will be to stop at a later date, so this is a habit that you need to get rid of straight away.
When you are trading, ensure that there aren’t too many distractions around, remember, you are trading now to live off the money you make. The last thing that you want is to get distracted and to then not make enough, this will in turn mean that you need to work late and long hours in order to make up for it, so ensure your trading environment is distraction-free.
Take regular breaks in your schedule, but make sure you plan them. Think about your strategy, there are going to be certain times of the day where the markets just do not suit it, such as when the markets change over from London to New York as an example. This is the perfect time to plan your breaks. Use that hour to go off and spend time with the family, or to do something that has nothing to do with trading. Use this as a way to add a little balance into yo day. Once you have brakes planned, stick to them and come back when you are meant to.
The most important thing to remember is to set your schedule and then stick to it. You need to treat trading like a job, I know we have mentioned it before but it is vital that you understand this, treat it like a job. Afterall, it pretty much is your job now, you use this to pay your bills and to buy your food, so the sooner you act like it and stick to a working schedule, the quicker you will be ready to continue this journey and to have a much healthier work to trade balance.