My recent post focused on common mistakes that traders make. I thought I would address the reverse issue and offer five "best practices" I've noticed among good traders:
1) Preparation to start the day and week: Having a clearly formulated strategy to guide trading decisions;
2) Keeping score: Using a trading journal to structure learning, document progress, and sustain positive motivation;
3) Managing risk and maximizing opportunity: Trading with more risk/size when trading well and clearly seeing opportunity and pulling back risk when drawing down, trading poorly, and perceiving little opportunity;
4) Taking breaks: Stepping back from markets periodically to gain fresh perspective, reformulate views, and tweak strategies;
5) Treating trading as a business: Limiting overhead, having a clearly defined plan to move toward profitability, focusing on distinctive areas of strengths and opportunity.
So much of what makes traders great is what they do between market sessions, how they do it, and how much of it they do.