Here's a great question I received via private message on Social Media during the week, which I think is relevant to all of us.

What time management approach do I use?

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".

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!

Lance Beggs

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.  🙂



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  1. I’ve explored time management systems for years and have followed and switched between various ones. I’ve come to the unsurprising conclusion that there’s no one system that works for me. So I’ve borrowed various elements from my favorite 3 systems (I won’t bore you with details; you can google for them if you like):

    1) RPM by Tony Robbins: You start with the end results you are after and figure out what you need to do to achieve those results. Work backwards far enough and you’ll know what you need to do this month, this week, this hour, etc.

    2) GTD by David Allen: I used to swear by this but it felt too rigid and had a lot of overhead. I still use his system of prioritizing my so-called To-Do list by 6 levels of urgency: Now, Next, Soon, Later, Someday, and Waiting.

    3) Pomodoro Technique: This works best for the tasks that demand a ton of single-minded concentration. You set an alarm for 25 minutes and concentrate 100% of your attention on that task. Then you take a break (say 5 minutes) after the alarm rings and then repeat again for another 25 minute burst. Usually once you’ve got the list of things to do using #1 and #2, you use this for optimal execution.

    1. Hi JJ,

      Thank you so much for sharing this. It’s awesome advice and will hopefully help others searching for their own time management solution.

      I can’t believe I didn’t think to mention Pomodoro in my article. I’m a big fan of this method of ensuring short, highly focussed bursts of productivity.

      Thanks again. Much appreciated.


  2. I think this is the best advice I’ve heard about time management:

    “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.”

    I find myself lacking the energy to execute any trading tasks because of a draining job, having poor eating habits, and no physical exercise. I recently started eating healthier and find myself bubbling with enthusiasm and ready to tackle a trading task because I have enough energy to execute it. I think health should be prioritized first.

    1. Hi Farhan,

      I’m so pleased that you’ve also discovered this fact and have started prioritizing health. Congratulations… and keep it up.

      After several years of worsening health, I finally accepted that it was all my own doing in late 2014. I joined a gym for the first time in about 25 years. I started eating better; and smaller quantities. I still have a way to go. I still obsess over my trading too much to the exclusion of my family. I still have sleeping issues (always have). But I’m continuing to work on these issues every week, and will continue to make improvements. But despite not yet achieving all I want to achieve in terms of health, I have seen such incredible progress over 2015. My energy levels have improved massively. And I feel better about myself physically, mentally and emotionally than I have in decades.

      So congratulations again on the “wins” you’ve had with your own health. May 2016 take you to even greater health, energy and joy for life.


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