Here's a great question I received via private message on Facebook during the week, which I think is relevant to all of us.
I'll make an assumption here that the intent is to talk about how to fit trading into "life". That is, how to find sufficient time for not only trading, but all the admin pre and post-session, plus the never-ending tasks of personal and professional learning and development.
Yeah… there is a lot to do.
There are no shortage of supposedly effective time management systems. These are two of the major systems I've tried over the years, both of which have a big following. But there are no shortage of others if you feel like searching Google for "time management".
- Getting Things Done (GTD) – http://gettingthingsdone.com/
- Agile – http://www.30daysofgettingresults.com/
So what system do I use?
None of them!
Whenever I implement a comprehensive system for managing my time, I end up spending too much time working and managing the system, rather than doing productive work.
But hey… maybe that's just me?
There are millions of people around the world who swear by these type of systems. Give them a try. Just because I didn't find them effective, doesn't mean you won't get great value out of them.
So what do I do then? Let's call it a "Time Management Non-System". I have general themes in life; things that are important to me. Family, trading, YTC, personal and spiritual growth & development, and a bunch of other stuff. And I just work on whatever I feel most motivated to work on at any particular time.
It's perhaps not as efficient as the above "systems". But it works for me.
Now… here's the important bit though, which was my motivation for sharing this via an article rather than just a private message reply.
Whether you operate with GTD or Agile or the "YTC Time Management Non-System", there is a foundation that needs to be in place first. It is the key that ensures you not only find time for all your trading activities, but that you also make maximum effective use of this time.
Without this foundation, you're wasting your time (pun intended!).
What really matters is NOT how you prioritise all your competing tasks and schedule them across your limited calendar.
Instead, what matters is how productive you are with the time you spend on each of your tasks.
Ultimately we are not managing time, but rather managing ourselves and how well we are able to apply ourselves to the task at hand.
And we do that by managing our ENERGY and our MOTIVATION.
Perfect prioritisation and scheduling of tasks is pointless if you don't have the energy to make productive use of the time.
Perfect prioritisation and scheduling of tasks is pointless if you don't have the motivation to work efficiently and effectively on the task.
Energy – Keep fit and healthy, in mind, body and soul. Sleep well. Keep hydrated. Eat healthy foods. Exercise. Maintain good relationships.
Motivation – Fill your life with reminders as to the "WHY" that drives all your efforts towards trading success.
If you lack energy and motivation, it doesn't matter what task you allocate to a particular block of time. It will be poorly executed.
But if you have high energy and are bursting with motivation, you'll ensure efficient and effective use of your time.
So if you wish to be effective in completing all daily trading routines and also allowing time for personal and professional development, then work to first ensure high energy levels, and do ALL YOU CAN to ensure massive motivation towards your trading goals.
The task for you now, if you haven't already done so, is to spend some time thinking about how you can improve your life in terms of both ENERGY and MOTIVATION FOR TRADING.
Because I don't believe it matters which time management system you ultimately choose to use. Or even if you choose to live without one. If you are highly energised and motivated, you'll not only find the time needed to work on your trading, but you'll also quite likely be unstoppable.
Just do it!
PS. None of these ideas are mine. I don't know where they originally came from, but if you do Google "time management" you'll surely find people discussing these ideas as well. There is a lot of great material out there on productivity. Schedule some time to study the topic and to experiment with different approaches till you find the one that best works for you. 🙂