Trading Educators Blog
Success Killing Plagues
I received permission from CEO Glen Larson of Genesis Financial Technologies to reprint an article he wrote. Years ago, I was one of Glen's first customers. It has been a pleasure to work with him and his staff since way back in the 1980s. Most of the charts you see here in Chart Scan come from Trade Navigator, the charting and trading program created by Genesis Financial Technologies. Glen writes:
"This month's success killing plague is known as 'So many markets, so many opportunities, so little time.'
"As a trader, you always have to have your eyes open for opportunities. Opportunities not only in the markets, but new trading techniques or ideas that could give you a slight increase in your trading edge. It's in our blood as traders. We just can't pass up a good opportunity that could help us bag the next big trade.
"At first glance, this may seem like a really good problem to have. Well it is, but it does present a significant problem, and the problem is simply this: if you constantly chase after EVERY opportunity that comes your way, you will spread yourself too thin, and you will never fully see any of the opportunities through to completion and success!
"Does this sound familiar? It's a curse that plagues many of us — but fortunately it is easily controlled, as long as you are conscious of it. The fact is, my most successful students and partners have picked an idea and stuck it through. They did their homework to make sure they had a viable trading idea, and then they focused... and focused... and focused... and they did not stop until they found success.
"Now there is a point where an idea just does not make sense to pursue any longer, and unfortunately there's no magic formula to dictate when to move to the next opportunity. I know people who have hit bankruptcy, not given up, and still brought their idea to fruition and made a fortune. When to abandon an idea is really up to you.
"Only you can determine if you are coming up out of a dip, or still headed into a
cul-de-sac/dead end. A key that I've been working on is time management.
"Most have jobs, family, and responsibilities. Balance all these with learning new ideas, researching possibilities, and practicing trading to become a master trader —
frustrating if you're not one of the fortunate ones who trade full time. Yet these traders also have these same frustrations, since their full time job is trading.
"Two approaches to success: one path is to sacrifice all other important people, projects, or areas of your life (not recommended); the second is to become more efficient at getting things done in less time.
"How to get more done in less time?
"As I learned from Brian Tracy, it all boils down to proper Time Management. We really "don't manage time, we manage the use of our time.
"Here is what I've learned observing and listening to literally thousands and thousands of traders over my 25 years in the business: if we can get our research done, get our practicing in, take the time to review and learn from trades, spend time with those special in our lives, spend time living a balanced life, we become more successful in trading.
"Everyone (what I like to call) "leaks" their time away. Leaks occur in forms like:
"Cruising the internet for 20-23 minutes here and there.
Responding immediately to an email when we hear our email chime.
Reading the latest sports page and checking out the fantasy football results.
Chatting with our co-workers about the latest events.
"The list goes on and on.
To help reduce our time leaks, I've summarized some of the best time management tricks and methods. These tricks and methods come from Brian Tracy seminars I've attended, and his and various other time management books.
'The first law of success is concentration -- to bend all the energies to one point, and to go directly to that point, looking neither to the right nor to the left.'
'The more thought you invest in planning and setting your priorities before you start a major project, the more important tasks you'll be able to accomplish — and the faster you'll get those tasks done. And the more important the task is to you, the more you'll be motivated to overcome procrastination and launch yourself into the job.
'The 'ABCDE Method' is a powerful priority-setting technique you can use every single day. This technique is so simple and effective that it can, all by itself, make you one of the most efficient and effective people in your field.
'Here's how it works...
'1. Think on Paper
'The power of this technique lies in its simplicity.
'You start by creating a list of everything you have to do for the coming day. Be sure to "think on paper" — you'll want to write everything down.
'Once you've finished, place an A, B, C, D or E beside each item on your list.
'An 'A' task is defined as something that is very important. This is something you MUST do. It's a task for which there can be serious consequences if you fail to do it, like visiting a key customer or finishing a report for your boss that she needs for an upcoming board meeting.
'If you have more than one "A" task, you prioritize these tasks by writing A-1, A-2, A-3, and so on, in front of each item.
'Your A-1 task is the most important and valuable task you need to accomplish. In other words, it's your TOP priority.
'2. 'Shoulds' versus 'Musts'
'A 'B' task is defined as something you should do — but if you don't do it, there'll be only mild consequences. Someone may be unhappy or inconvenienced if you don't do a 'B' task, but it's nowhere as important as an 'A' task. (For example, returning an unimportant telephone message or reviewing your email would be a 'B' task.)
'You should never do a 'B' task when there is an "A" task left undone.
'A 'C' task is defined as something that would be nice to do, but for which there are no consequences at all whether you do it or not. 'C' tasks include phoning a friend, having coffee or lunch with a coworker, or completing some personal business during work hours. This sort of activity has no effect at all on your work life.
'A 'D' task is defined as something you can delegate to someone else. You should make a point of delegating everything you can, so you're able to free up more time for the 'A' tasks only you can do.
'An 'E' task is defined as something that you can eliminate altogether and it won't make any real difference. This may be a task that was important at one time but which is no longer relevant to yourself or anyone else. Often an 'E' task is something you continue to do out of habit or because you enjoy it. But every minute you spend on an 'E' task is time taken away from an 'A' or 'B' task that can make a real difference in your life.
'After you have applied the 'ABCDE Method' to your list, you'll be completely organized — and ready to get your most important tasks done faster.
'3. Take Action Immediately
'The key to making this ABCDE Method work is to discipline yourself to start your 'A-1' task right away — and then stay at it until it is complete. Use your willpower to get going and stay going on this one job. Don't forget, it's the most important single task you could possibly be doing.
'Your ability to analyze your list of tasks and determine which is your "A-1" task is the springboard to higher levels of accomplishment, as well as greater self-esteem, self-respect, and personal pride. When you develop the habit of concentrating on your 'A-1' most important activity, you'll soon be getting more done than any two or three people around you.
'4. Review: Put your learning into practice
- Review you work list right now and put an A, B, C, D or E next to each task or activity.
- Select your A-1 job or project and begin it immediately. Discipline yourself to do nothing else until this one job is complete.
- Practice this ABCDE Method every day and on every work or project list — before you begin working on it — for the next month. By that time, you will have developed the habit of setting and working on your highest priority
tasks, and your future will be assured!
'Hopefully you can begin to use these techniques to improve your trading and your personal lives as well."
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