Tips to stay alert and focused during the trading day

Trading full time can put a strain on your body. Waking in the early hours of the day and keeping your focus throughout the entire session can be a challenge. Here are 6 tips to help you feel more alert and focused during the trading day.


  1. A Little Caffeine Can go a Long Way

If you’ve ever found yourself overwhelmed with too many tasks I’m sure you’ve wanted to know how to concentrate better.

Nothing cures that lack of productivity bug like a little caffeine. While I am not a coffee drinker, every so often I do take a shot of espresso or crack open a Pepsi for that extra burst of motivation and energy. Scientific studies do show that caffeine improves focus and concentration. While I wouldn’t recommend jumping on the 3 cups a day of coffee a day wagon, every so often it can be the perfect pick-me-up to improve your productivity.

  1. Why Exercise Benefits the Brain

Not only is exercise good for the body physically, it is also a great way to stimulate the brain and boost your mood. After you’ve finished exercising for 45-mins or so you probably notice you’re in an upbeat mood, can think clearly, and generally feel good about yourself.

When you do things like go on walks, take part in a sporting activity, or even household choirs like gardening and maintaining the lawn, you are helping your body combat diseases, control your weight and boost your energy.

Exercise releases endorphins which are the body’s natural feel good chemicals. The body also releases serotonin, dopamine, and adrenalin which help to alleviate stress and keep you in good mental health as you age.

3. Feed Your Body Right

Garbage in garbage out. Feed your body right and it will reward you.

A glass of orange juice or something sweet with breakfast can help boost alertness and mental ability. Pair that with a healthy breakfast of granola cereal, wheat toast, egg whites, and some fresh fruit and you’ll be set for the mornings trading.

Berries, nuts, whole grains are great snack foods and will keep you going throughout the day. Celery and Almonds are especially good for an added pick me up during the afternoon.

For dinner, fish, broccoli, green beans, brown rice, and a glass of milk is a great way to cap off the trading day and keep the body motoring through the week.

Most importantly, don’t forget to stay hydrated! Water flushes out the body and keeps you healthy.

  1. Distract Your Mind with Music

Listening to music during a mundane or dull task increases our focus and creativity. With soft music in the background, the part of our mind which becomes easily distracted is now occupied with the music.

I’ve found that listening to music without lyrics is most effective. My choice while trading is techno, but I also enjoy jazz and even classical.

I urge you to give it a listen!

  1. Sleep in 90-min Cycles

While it may be obvious that sleep is important, most people don’t realize how much sleep their body actually needs. As we age our bodies require less and less sleep, however your activity level plays a large part in the amount of sleep you need.

Sleep helps reduce stress, improves memory, and keeps your heart healthy. An average sleep cycle takes approximately 90-mins to complete. This varies for each person, but not by much, maybe by a couple minutes.

Try this exercise:

Time your sleep habits for a week. Set your alarm so you wake up just after 6, 7.5, or 9 hours of sleep. This ensures that you’ve completed a full cycle and aren’t waking up in the middle of REM sleep causing you to feel groggy and tired.

  1. Bring the Outdoors In

Studies show when people live and work in a well lit environment, they are happier, healthier and overall more productive. In addition, cracking a window and letting the sounds of the outdoors into the office is something that I find really enjoyable. Natural light also reduces eyestrain, a vital issue when starring at a computer screen all day long.

If you don’t have access to natural light, utilize short 5-10 minute walks outside during the day to recharge and alleviate any stress on your eyes. Sitting in a dim lit room on a sunny day is simply no fun.