How can I know if I am in a situation where I should just push through, carry on, put in the effort and not give in? Or if I am in a situation where the best thing I can truly do is to take a break?
Here’s the quick and dirty answer: If you’re the slightest bit in doubt, then take a break! Why? Because doubt is a sign that you’re not on top of your game. If you were, you would not have any doubt! Your success depends to a large extent on your self awareness, in trading as in life. I already gave some tips in a previous post, but this time things were different.
Why I took a break
During the last half of March and the whole month of April I did not execute a single trade. Why? Because of a major change in the family. My wife was going to take up a position in another city in another country. Though the change did not involve me directly, it certainly did involve me and affect me.
There were mountains of paper work to do, not much that I had to deal with, but I needed to be available to support my wife. The week before the move we traveled together, trawling the city for suitable apartments. Even after the successful move there were plenty of things that needed to be done involving the local authorities here in Munich, and being the one staying behind I was the one dealing with most of it.
And let’s not forget the little day to day things. Since my wife and I have always shared the workload at home, I now found myself having to learn and do a lot of things that were not exactly on autopilot for me. All of this takes time and drains my energy. And that is okay, because I knew it would be the case and I know it is just a matter of time until I have settled into a new daily routine that doesn’t take all my energy.
So did I just leave the markets behind during those 1.5 months? Not at all. I upheld a routine of following the markets I normally trade, I just did not look for any entry signals. I also spent a great deal of time on reviewing books and courses I have studied in the past – that in itself is an activity I can highly recommend! And I spent time researching new ideas and ways to look at the markets. All of these are valuable things to do. In fact, I am going to be devoting regular time to these activities in the future – including when I have returned to my normal trading routine!
When not to trade
So to summarize, here are some examples of situations where you might not be on top of your game, and so should not trade.
- Just before and after a vacation
- During periods of emotional stress
- When going through a divorce or separation
- When losing a loved one
- When going through a job change
- When moving
And remember, if you are in doubt – don’t trade! Spend the time learning, reviewing and researching.
I hope you found this useful. I would love to hear about your experiences and insights, so please feel free to share in the comments below.