One of the many challenges in trading options or stocks are the many distractions that tend to get in the way of accomplishing our goals. The best traders learn to deal with them, manage them and rise above so they have little impact on their profit/loss. These distractions can be market-related or just something out of the blue in your life that needs tending to. Trading requires the utmost in concentration and focus, get side-tracked and it can cause some real damage. However, a diversion from trading requires discipline and good timing as well, knowing when to step away when distracted, allowing your mind to get back in the game.
I find my best trade results occur when I have fewer distractions that annoy me during the trading day. However, there are times when they cannot be avoided (see below). It could be repeated phone calls, something breaking in the house, nature calling, or my kids needing to be picked up or something of that kind. Whatever the case, I need to find a way to control these distractions and get back to my job of option trading.
Often times when I am distracted and my mind is not on ‘trading right’ then I will step away, take a walk or maybe even taking trades down and starting over when my mind is fresh.
I had a rather embarrassing and costly distraction once, I’m not proud of but will share it (as clean as possible) because I suspect many of you had something similar happen to you (hopefully not exactly this episode). So, it’s a few years back and I’m loaded up on some call options, quite a few without any hedges on. Suddenly, I get a phone call from my daughters’ school, she left her lunch and homework on the table – could u please bring it right away. No need to protect, right? I’ll be back in a jiffy. I jump up and rush everything to her school like the ‘good dad’ I am. Back to work 25 minutes later and I see that my options have plunged – and all the sudden I’m getting hammered. It wasn’t a good day for me!
Sometimes these situations are unavoidable. While I was visibly shaken and upset about this happening I needed to ‘suck it up’ and move on – which is exactly what I did. Any distraction to what you face during a trading day can be dealt with properly. If you face distractions that take your focus off trading then learn to manage them and eliminate what you can control. When you clear your head and concentrate on the tough task of trading is when you will truly have taken steps to the next level. Bob Lang