I operate my trading business in accordance with my Procedures Manual, which documents the procedural steps I will carry out in order to complete:

  • My pre-session routine

  • My during-session routine

  • My post-session routine

  • My contingency management procedures

Let’s discuss my pre-session routine. Feel free to use whatever parts you find useful for documenting your own routine. Feedback is always welcome. I love to hear how others manage their trading as well (through co-operation we can all improve as traders).

Pre-session is the time you prepare for trading. This involves two main components:

  1. Personal Preparation

  2. Trading Preparation

Personal Preparation involves the following steps: (with additional comments or links in italics when clarification is required)

  1. Initial Check of Physical and Mental Health

    1. If suffering from any ill health or stress, consider the need for cancelling the session, reducing the session, reducing position sizes, or implementing periodic checks of myself and my performance.

    2. Seek independent opinion from _________ (My wife offers her opinion as to my need for a break. You’ll want to include someone applicable to your circumstances, if at all possible. Obviously ignore this step if you live alone!)

  2. Physical

    1. Ensure sufficient sleep, in accordance with the 5/12 fatigue management plan (refer to this link) (Note: the 5/12 plan is an absolute minimum requirement – you do need to aim for more sleep than this. 5/12 is really the go/no-go criteria.)

    2. Ensure sufficient and healthy food intake (sufficient to last till first break)

    3. Fill water bottle and place at trading desk

    4. Conduct a relaxation and breathing session (if you don’t have any routine yet, sign up for the free newsletter at http://www.energyarts.com/ to get their downloadable 30-Day Longevity Breathing Program. NOTE: This is not an affiliate link. I have no relationship with this site at all, apart from being a satisfied customer)

  3. Psychological

    1. Review Motivational Journal (a folder containing various pieces of motivational material & affirmations, reminders of the importance of disciplined trading, a reminder of the probabilistic nature of trading results, my long-term goal statements, some long-term goal images, a review of my profitability goals and my current short-term goals. Create your own however you see fit. Make it a work in progress, always updating as you find new motivational material.)

  4. Final Confirmation Check

    1. Again confirm my physical and mental health.

      1. If suffering from any ill health or stress, consider the need for cancelling the session, reducing the session, reducing position sizes, or implementing periodic checks of myself and my performance.

      2. Confirm again that my fatigue levels are within the limits as defined by the 5/12 fatigue management plan. No trading is to occur if I am classified as suffering from fatigue.


Trading Preparation involves the following steps:

  1. Platform & Computer Preparation – Part 1 (this can be done at the same time as Personal Preparation, if not before)

    1. Virus check, clean & restart computer

    2. Open platform with sim account

  2. Review the previous session.

    1. Trading Journal & Log (I use this trading journal; the trading log is just paper based, for recording anything relevant to this session)

    2. Lessons learnt (I keep all lessons learnt in an excel database, but this point here relates to those lessons from the previous session, documented in the trading log from the session review)

    3. Sim trade (market replay) any key sequences from previous session (if identified in previous session as requiring reinforcement prior to this session)

    4. Sim trade – execution drills (a simple process of using market replay or the sim to work through the process of order entry, placement of stops & targets, movement of stops & targets, and exit)

    5. Goals recommended for today (Note: these are process goals, never outcome goals such as a dollar amount or percentage return)

    6. Close sim account.

  3. Prepare today’s Trading Journal and Log

    1. Market

      1. Confirm no contract rollover (next date due: ________) (Applicable for futures only. The rollover date will be entered in the space provided. Contract rollover dates are available from the exchange website.)

    2. Session timings

    3. Balance & position sizes

    4. Review Economic Reports (I use this site here)

    5. Record daily goals

  4. Platform & Computer Preparation – Part 2

    1. Open platform with live account

    2. Synchronise system clock (confirm my clock matches the time as presented by my broker – if not, resync mine again)

    3. Set alarms for prior to session start, or any potentially volatile news event I wish to watch prior to session start

    4. Set my candle timer as required (I set a timer to beep on the close of each candle on my trading timeframe chart – as a means of returning focus to the charts if my mind has wandered.)

    5. Confirm order entry / DOM screen is correctly configured – contract, position sizes, order strategy (stop, limit parameters) and one-click order entry

  5. Initial Analysis

    1. (Insert applicable steps here, as per your own analysis)

    2. Visualisation of expected price action leading into initial setup area.

  6. Final relaxation and breathing session


That’s it. Nice & simple. With experience it will typically take no more than 30 mins, although that’s may increase depending on the amount of sim review required from the previous session.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs.


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  1. Hi Lance,
    I m your long time fan who comes in search of pearls of wisdom whenever I need a booster for my trading mindset. This piece of article “My Pre-session Routine” is an absolute must for every serious trader who wants to align his mindset to the market. Keep up the good work, Lance.
    God Bless You !!!

  2. Hi Lance,
    normally how long the pre-session routine take?
    Would be great help if you could specify how long for each of the two components.

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