Use the 3-D Process To Keep Your Trading on Track

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How to Keep a Trading Journal the Easy Way

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Trading journals help traders track their trades and thoughts throughout the day. It’s a great tool because a thorough journal includes details beyond what you can see on your brokerage statement. It includes what market conditions were like and if you were distracted or made mistakes. It’s also where you can record strategy ideas which may arise as you trade throughout the day.

All traders should keep a trading journal, but day traders don’t have time to be spilling their guts on paper all day. Keeping a trading journal while trading — when the action is happening — actually could be counter-productive and lead to missed trades.

There’s an easy solution, though, that involves absolutely no handwriting and gives you a historical record of the exact market conditions you were facing on a particular day.

The Easy Way

A picture tells a thousand words, right? Perfect, let’s use a picture. Instead of writing about market conditions, mistakes, what went well, and new strategy ideas, take a screenshot of the trading day with some typed annotations on it.

Most traders mark up their charts throughout the day, drawing lines and marking indicator levels which help determine the trend and find possible reversal/target points. The chart shows the exact market conditions being traded. Intraday analyses can show your perception of the market that day — something words in a trading journal never could describe as well.

A picture is an easy way to keep a trading journal, but you must include certain things to make it useful when you look back at it for review.

How to Mark Your Charts

These basic guidelines for marking up your charts will make them useful for future reference.

  • Include an hour or two of price action before you begin trading, if applicable. This provides a context for what was happening when you started trading. You don’t need to include price action from the prior day. Doing this can help you better assess time frames to watch while trading.
  • Mark your start time with a vertical line or text note on the chart. It lets you know if you started trading early or late, and/or why you may have missed some trade signals earlier in the day.
  • Write down the times of major economic events you will be stepping aside for. When that time comes around, make a note again that you weren’t trading because of news.
  • Make text notes throughout the day about tendencies and market conditions you notice. If you make an error, make a note of it. If you miss a trade, make a note of it.
  • Keep as many trendlines and drawings on your chart as possible, assuming they don’t distract you. They help to show your future self how you were seeing the market in real time at any given moment.
  • Mark when you stop trading for the day with a vertical line or text note.
  • Type how many trades you made, how many winners, the total profit for winning trades, how many losers, the total loss for losing trades, and the net result. Avoid using dollars, which fluctuate based on position size. Instead, use pips for forex, cents for stocks, or ticks/points for futures. For example, if trading the ES Futures contract, instead of writing “4 winners, $400; 4 losers, $200 = net +$200,” write “4 winners, 8 points; 4 losers, 4 points = net +4 points.”

At the end of the trading day take a screenshot of your chart and paste it into a photo editor. It should include all the information above. If you can’t see everything on one chart, take two or three shots and save them separately.

Save each day with the date as its file name, and keep them in trading folder saved to an easily accessible location on your computer or in the cloud. Create subfolders for each year and month to make the files more easily searchable.

Reviewing Your Journal

At the end of each week and month, go back and see what you did, notice common problems, and spot your strengths. These observations can help you exploit your strengths and highlight the areas you need to work on.

Taking screenshots is more effective at capturing information than you could by just writing in a journal. Plus, if you do want to write stuff down, you can do so right on your charts, or keep a written trading journal as well. Be diligent in this routine, so that you have every trade you make recorded.

17 Cool and Useful Things to 3D Print Around Your Home

With a 3D printer and a little imagination, you can create just about anything for your home.

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You have probably been with bombarded articles and think pieces discussing all the ways 3D printing will change the world. From fashion to car manufacturing, 3D printing is changing the way the world designs, creates, and engineers products. Yet, what about you?

If you have a 3D printer or have considered adding one to your desktop in 2020, IE is here to tell you there is plenty of ways to use a 3D printer to enhance your life; more specifically, your home. One of the hidden joys of owning a 3D printer is being able to print almost whatever you like.

Do you need some new wall hooks for a painting? Or perhaps you need a new organizer for your desk? Forget about taking a last minute trip to the store in this weather, you can 3D print these items, and much much more. So, where should you begin?

The 3D printer

Before going out to buy a new 3D printer for your home projects, you should understand 3D printing and the variety of tools and materials available on the market, because there is a lot.

In short 3D printing or, additive manufacturing is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file.

Using some form of CAD or Computer Aided Design, users send their designs to their selected printer. The 3D printer then “prints” your lovely design layer by layer with a material called filament.

Depending on factors, like the type of filament used, the “resolution” (height of the layers) of the print, the type of printer you have, and the size of the print, the process can take a few hours or even a few days.

However, the end result is a 3D printed object that can be used for prototyping or even as a functioning product.

The process of 3D printing was something reserved for massive companies a decade ago, now you can go pick up a 3D printer for a few hundred dollars and begin printing at home. So what are you going to print?

Smart NanoLeaf Replica

Add a little color to your home, this project is a great way to create your own nano leaves. Created by Surrbradl08, the smart device behaves just as well as some of the nano leaves you may see on the market.

Breakdown Coat Hanger

Hanging up your clothes can do wonders for not only the organization of your home but also your overall look. Sure you can go out and pick up a few hangers at the store, but who wants to do that?

You can 3D print a hanger that is not only created to your specific specifications but something that looks cool for your home.

Pen and Pencil Holder

It is time to upgrade your pen and pencil holder game. By 3D printing a Pen and Pencil Holder, you can control how it looks, the size and overall design. Get organized with your own 3D printed creation.

Sixpack Carrier

This project will probably make your life of the party. Perfect for when you need to transport large amounts of alcohol, this durable and easy to print sixpack carrier can be created directly on your desk.

Earbud Holder

If you have not joined the Apple Airpod cult, and have not switched over to creating to wireless headphones, try 3D printing an earbud holder. No more frustrating tangled headphones.

Stackable Hex Drawers

Not only do these organizers look great, but they can be designed to fit your specific needs. The modular component of the drawer allows you to add and subtract your storage space any way you see fit.

Self-Watering Planter

If you have problems watering plants and don’t have a “green thumb” than this project is for you. With a few simple adjustments, you can easily print an automatic plant waterer, to keep your plants nice and healthy.

Plastic Wrench

3D printing tools are far more common than you think. Due to the strength of most filaments, printed tools can be extremely durable, even more, reliable than something you might pick up at a store. So, why not 3D print a plastic wrench?

Chainmail

Yes, you can 3D print fabric. Great for those who enjoy a little cosplay on the weekends, want to create their own dresses. 3D printing chainmail is a great way to create unique products or gifts.

Groovi Monster Sound Amplifier

Sure you can go out and spend a few hundred on a Bluetooth speaker for your phone. However, if you have a 3D printer laying around, why not create your own sound amplifier. Printing a passive amplifier for your home is a great way to keep the party going at home.

Filament Clip

Clips are the most underrated little tools you can have around the home. Clips are a versatile and great way to keep things together around your home. With your own printer, you can easily print dozens of clips.

Plantygon

Designed by PrintFutura, this little stackable garden is a great way to add a little green your desk. Perfect for growing succulents, the planter is easy to 3D print and modular for when you what you add more plants to your mini garden.

Survival Whistle

Hopefully, you will never be a castaway like Tom Hanks. Yet, if you are currently working on a survival pack, just in case, then perhaps it is time to 3D print a survival whistle. Though small in size, this whistle can register at 188 decibels. Someone is sure to hear from you then.

Parametric Hinge

3D printers are great for your own specific projects or inventions, allowing you to print your own pieces rather than scour the web. This parametric hinge is perfect if you need something strong and versatile for your own inventions.

Cutlery Drainer

No more paper towel drying. 3D print the cutlery drainer that you have always dreamed about, without having to venture off to IKEA. Great for knives and forks, some have even extended the cutlery drainer to include plates and small dishes.

Bottle Opener

Bottle openers are never around when you need them. 3D print as many as you like with your own 3D printer, in any color that you like. Most filaments are durable enough to easily pop open a cold brew.

Step Box Step

You can never have too many organizers, so why not 3D print them? The beauty of 3D printing organizers is that you tailor the design parameters to fit your mess and to reduce any miscellaneous clutter.

What useful things have you 3D printed for your home? Leave your examples in the comments below.

Use the 3-D Process To Keep Your Trading on Track

Table of Contents

In this post, our aim is to stress the importance of keeping a trading journal:

  • How did I lose $50 on that trade last week?
  • Did I take a $100 profit yesterday because I held the stock longer or was there another reason?
  • How did I miss that short squeeze the other day?

Chances are that you have asked yourself at least one of these questions, regardless of how long you have been trading stocks. It doesn’t matter whether you started trading last week, last year or five years ago.

Trading is a constant learning curve. The more insight you have into what went wrong and what went right with every single trade, every single day, the more you’re learning about the market, catalysts and your trading personality.

The more insight you have into yourself and into your trades, the more experienced a trader you can become.

Trading is not encapsulated by the notion of making money overnight, by speculating, by a random pick on a small-priced stock that will make you into a millionaire with little thought, no planning and no understanding.

Rather, the successful trading journey is a long-term affair that comes only after careful planning, studying, learning from other successful traders, learning from your mistakes—with money being the reward for what should be your well-informed trading decisions.

If you learned anything in school, it’s that note-taking is an important step towards learning. Someone who is in-the-know disseminates information, the student takes notes. The student uses those notes and then practices.

The student inevitably will have some failures.

Scientists—true pioneers who are trying to find a solution to a problem, or a cure or proving a theory, take great notes. They record everything. Scientists who fail to document their failures and successes in minute detail are not scientists at all—they are speculators who are unlikely to uncover what they intend to uncover.

This is why we stress just how important it is to keep a trading journal to record, track and review every trade that you make—the good, the bad and the ugly.

Keeping a detailed diary helps you to learn from your trades, will help you keep your goals in the forefront of you mind and will help to tweak and perfect your strategy.

Ultimately, a trading journal helps you to grow as a trader, revealing insights that you can use in your future trades.

So, when should you start your trading journal?

We think it’s critical to start your trading journal from Day 1 of your trading career—even if you’re only paper trading. If you’re among those who has already started to log all of your trades, well done!

You’ve already taken a very important step forward on the road to mastering your trading skills.

So, how do you go about keeping a trading journal?

That’s a great question and one that varies depending on who you are. You should have an open mind about how to journal your trading activity. But, if you’re a new trader and having worked with lots of newbies before, we suggest taking cues from already successful traders.

You can tweak it later and make changes, as you become more comfortable with the process.

It’s okay to keep your trading log the way you like it and find most useful—for you. If you want to keep your own diary using pen and paper, that’s fine. If you fancy spreadsheets or something even more high tech, go ahead, log your trades in there.

If you think other traders could give you more insights, use one of the many journaling programs out there. What matters is to keep a trading journal for every move that you make (or even every trade you choose not to make), because it offers several crucial advantages for improving your knowledge and skills.

Here’s our breakdown of the 5 advantages of keeping a trading diary.

5 Reasons To Keep A Trading Journal

#1 Track every trade

Provide detailed information into trading earnings and losses.

When you have the date/hour of entry, timeframe, the move you made, size of your positions, reasons for opening/closing trades and the outcome: profit or loss, this is what we consider to be a detailed account of what you did with your trade.

It’s not necessary to write/spell it all out in full structured and grammatically correct sentences (although that’s fine too!). It’s enough to record a few words and numbers or just list the bullet points. This saves time when live trade journaling.

#2 Review every trade

Journaling is great. But, it’s fairly pointless if you never review your journal to glean insights from your previous trades.

This review process will shed more light on what was right or wrong with your choices and trading strategy. And, we assume you have a strategy, rather than the fly-by-night approach, which is akin to gambling.

Your strategy, even if it doesn’t work, should be methodical and you should stick to it until you’ve proven that it’s the strategy that’s faulty. It’s okay to change your strategy. It’s not okay to not have one.

Reviewing every trade will help you to tweak your strategy and will assist you as you try out multiple strategies.

  • Have you written in your journal your reasoning for opening or closing a trade?
  • Have you written in your journal why you didn’t make a specific trade?
  • Have you written down your thought process behind each decision?
  • Did you include details, like price at purchase, price at exit, dates and times of execution?

If you do, you should always be reviewing this information to see if you were right to act on some catalyst, news or chart.

If you don’t have a reason (whether it’s right or not) for entering/exiting aposition, you probably shouldn’t have been in the trade at all.

#3 Learn from every trade

The more you review your trades and ask yourself what you should do differently next time, the more you will learn—and the more quickly you will learn. This is yet another advantage of keeping a trading journal.

By recording your trades, thoughts and market observations, you are actually learning from your past actions and mistakes. When you report and flag a past mistake, you can write down what you can do next time to avoid repeating that mistake.

Or, when you see what is working and successful, you can focus on learning what’s profitable for your strategy and goals.

People who are willing to improve their skills and knowledge find a lesson to learn and a chance to grow from each experience—good and bad. So, let each of your trades teach you something.

#4 Grow from every trade

Our take of this advantage is that a detailed trading journal enhances your trading discipline, helps you to keep track of your trading strategy, monitor your profit-taking goals and evaluate longer-term risk-vs-reward opportunities.

The trading diary keeps track of not only each of your trades, but it also keeps tabs on the progress you’re making toward reaching your goals or on your individual trading type.

The trading journal is an investment in your continuous education in trading and self-discovery.

#5 Keep everything in perspective

The more you find out about markets and about yourself, the better big-picture view you will have about the whole process. Records of past trades, what went wrong or want went right and what you want to change next time, make it easier for you to adjust to new market trends.

Keeping the journal and reviewing it regularly gives you insights into what kind of trader you are. It also shows you what trades or stocks work for you and your ultimate trading goal. Then, you can see how to apply what works for you to your future trades.

A bonus advantage—and it may be one of the most important and yet underrated advantages, is that journaling often helps you close out what happened during the trading day—mentally speaking.

If you acknowledge your losses, write them down and write down what you should have done (and therefore what you will do next time), you can be done with it and enjoy the evening and sleep better.

If you try to bury your head in the sand, losses—especially large ones—can leave your mind spinning for hours, vacillating between briefly stressing out over what went wrong and what we call the ostrich effect, which is like refusing to address what is concerning to you.

If you journal your trades and detail everything about the good and bad trades, you are properly dealing with your loss, treating it more like a business transaction. Then, you can move on with the rest of your day, already having a plan for the next day.

Not journaling may leave issues unresolved, which will nag at you, whether conscious or subconscious and will interfere with your general happiness.

There is no need to reinvent the wheel here and there’s no reason to trudge off on your own, ignoring those great traders who find journaling an absolute necessity. At first, it may seem a daunting task and time consuming.

But, if you give it a shot, you will come to the same conclusion any successful trader has already come to: journaling works. Ignore this advice at your peril.

Remember: practice makes perfect. With time and experience, you’ll see that your trading journal is your best companion in your journey to becoming a better and more successful trader.

If you’re new to trading stocks we’ve got 15 steps for getting you started, check it out.

Trading Journal: How to Track Your Trades to Optimize Your Performance

Trading Journal – Introduction

We don’t know of a single successful trader that doesn’t keep a trading journal.

There is a reason why successful businesses keep detailed records! They use the data to analyze and optimize their operations!

Trading is no different. The most important thing that you can do to cut your learning curve is to treat it like a business and keep a detailed trading journal.

Many struggling traders don’t keep journals, let alone know what they are!

Why might this be the case?

Put it this way.

Digging into your emotions pre, during and after trades will unlock incredible insight into your strengths and weaknesses.

This will help you optimize your strategy and identify areas to work on for improvement. That is how successful traders operate!

Many losing traders jump between strategies looking for the holy grail. We believe that a trading journal IS the holy grail!

In this post, we’ll break down the process of keeping a trading journal so that you can unlock your true trading potential!

Trading Journal – What to Track?

By tracking it you can master it. Remember that!

Most traders stick to the basic metrics when creating trading journals.

These can include entry, exits, position size, as well as net profit & loss.

While this is a good start, we want to go deeper than just the P/L from your broker statement.

We also want to track the factors that can affect trading performance such as emotions, market sentiment & analysis, as well as trade qualifiers/disqualifiers.

What Do We Track?

Since we are day traders, we keep a trading journal for every single session, whether we traded or not. Swing traders will benefit from tracking each trade, before, during and after execution.

The relevant metrics that we like to use for our trading journal are as follow:

(2) Position size used

(3) Whether we went long or short & why

(4) Strategy used to execute trade

(5) Time and date of trade

(8) Final P/L Result

(8) Screenshots of the trades

(9) Notes with regards to why we took/disqualified the trades

(10) Session and/or Trade Grading

Trading Journal – How to review and optimize your edge

If you keep disciplined and consistently update your trading journal, then you should have a nice set of data to review. Here is what to look for in order to optimize your edge and improve your trading results!

  1. Identify patterns that may be leading to losers and find ways to minimize/mitigate them.
  2. Identify patterns that lead to your winners and find ways to maximize your profits.

Let me explain…

Losing trades are part and parcel of this business, however, not every loss is the same! For each loss that you take, you want to make sure that it was a valid setup in the first place.

Ask yourself, “How can I minimize my losses”? If you find that you tend to perform the worst on a certain date of the week, you might consider not trading it moving forward. What if you find that you are getting the direction right, but getting stopped out of trades before the real move happens far too often? Perhaps you are getting in too early and can add a filter to reduce your losses.

Your winning trades are just as important for your development as the losers. Sometimes we get rewarded for breaking our rules, so you’ll want to review each winning trade to ensure it was a valid setup in the first place. If the profit was a result of a mistake or rule-breaking, make a note of it. You’ll want to look for patterns that lead to your winning trades. Is there a certain setup you should focus on? Are there days you seem to perform best? Are there times of day that you trade the best during? These are all things that should be noted and review on a continuous basis.

After reviewing your winners, ask yourself “how can I maximize my profits on my winners?”. Whether it’s scaling out of a portion of the position to lock in profit and letting the rest run or utilizing a more effective way of manually trailing your stops, this should be a big focus during your review.

If you can do these things successfully, you will be well on your way to becoming the best trader that you can be! Is it starting to make sense why a trading journal is so crucial to your development?

Trading Journal – Free Tools

Evernote

With a free and paid version, this is our preferred tool for keeping our trading journal. The free version allows a monthly upload limit of 60 MB and should suffice for most new traders. You can take screenshots directly into the notes, annotate images, create notebooks and tag notes making it easy to keep a detailed journal.

Google Docs

Another free tool that can be accessed with a Gmail email address. A great alternative to Evernote which can be used to write down thoughts and analysis of the markets.

Windows Snipping Tool/Mac Screenshot Tool

If your trading platform does not offer the option to copy charts directly from the platform, then this is a great option to get screenshots of your charts into your trading journal.

Microsoft Paint

Another free image editing tool out of Microsoft which you can use to edit and annotate your charts as needed.

Trading Journal – The Full Process

By now you should understand the importance of keeping a trading journal, as well as, the metrics to track and how to review and optimize your performance going forward.

If there is still any confusion, have no fear! We made this video to walk you through the complete process of creating a trading journal which puts together all of the concepts introduced above.

Grab a coffee or a beverage of choice and enjoy the video!

Trading Journal – Final Thoughts

A trading journal is a deciding factor between the 5% of traders that are consistently profitable and the 95% that lose money.

Keeping a diary of your trading activity will help you review your results, weed out any weaknesses and highlight your strengths. Which in effect will help you optimize your strategy, increase performance and maximize profits!

If you don’t already, make sure to start keeping a trading journal as soon as possible and see the benefits that it can provide for your trading!

If you want to join us in our live trading room, check out the Pro Trader package here >

Want to trade more passively, checkout our newsletter, trade ideas and live analysis in the Swing Trader package here >

The information contained in this post is solely for educational purposes, and does not constitute investment advice. The risk of trading in securities markets can be substantial. You should carefully consider if engaging in such activity is suitable to your own financial situation. TRADEPRO Academy is not responsible for any liabilities arising as a result of your market involvement or individual trade activities.

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