Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Finding Your Optimal Environment

So every morning I plant myself at the kitchen island at 4:00 AM and every morning I am joined by my feline company.  Those are my most productive hours, connecting with four-legged friends, enjoying the quiet, and alternating between work and morning exercise.  No phone calls, no emails, no messaging, no television, no errands to attend to:  just free time to reflect and work at what I love.

Half of productivity is proper structuring of your environment:  interpersonally and at the office.  

I wrote the majority of my first book at a Wegman's grocery store in DeWitt, NY.  It was a perfect environment, with plenty of coffee, food, and available tables.  There were always plenty of people around, but none of them were distractions.  Being in public can be a great way to find solitude.

Some traders work well in teams and thrive on debate and discussion.  Others work well apart from people and view discussion as distraction.  Some traders fill their immediate environment with multiple screens and a variety of visual displays.  Others have a very simple trade station and greatly tailor their information flow.  In structuring our social and work environments, we can either draw upon our strengths or frustrate those.

One of the problems with our environments is that, too often, they are not flexible.  The setting that is best for deep thinking and analysis is not necessarily the one that is best for processing real time market information.  Traders intuitively recognize this when they speak of the need to "get away from the screens" periodically. 

The right environments, like my mornings, are ones in which you feel free, unencumbered, and truly at home.  The wrong environments understimulate or overstimulate, leaving us frustrated.  When I first meet with traders, I learn a great deal by observing their environments.  The world we structure outside has an uncanny way of mirroring our internal realities--and helping shape those.

Further Reading:  Assessing the Right Trading Environment