Preparing For The Open - My Best Tips For Being Ready At The Bell

Whenever 9:30AM strikes, you must be at your desk with a clear mind, and a strong plan of attack.

If you show up to the desk late or unprepared, the outcome day by day can be financially devastating. Trading is like a sport, and what people don’t get is that 9:30AM - 4:00PM is like our ‘game’. Just like NBA and NFL players work constantly outside of their games to sharpen their skill sets and prepare for the next match, professional traders do the same. There are certain key things I do and focus on every single day to ensure that I am ready to go when the bell rings. Adopting these processes and routines early in your career will lay out a strong foundational core for you to grow from.

Let’s dive into my top tips and routines for ensuring that you are ready to strike like a professional every morning.

  1. Come To Your Desk with An Actionable Watchlist

In the past, I have dropped some blogs that really go into detail on how to create an actionable watchlist, so today I will keep it brief. Every day before the bell goes off, you must have 2 separate watchlists, a pre-market gappers list and an overnight list, ready to go with strong setups that could trigger TODAY. You want your watchlists to have clear setups that can trigger within the next session. Make sure it is focused, tight, and limit it to 3-5 tickers on each list. Find 3-5 tickers that are gapping up or down and look attractive, and 3-5 tickers that look good from your overnight scans.

  1. Clear Your Mind

Trading is a game of mental agility and endurance. Your brain is your biggest asset, so you must treat it properly. If you follow me, you know I am big on the psychology side of life and trading. Every day I make sure that I take the time to get up early, workout, meditate, and ensure I have no ‘baggage’ going into the open that could hinder my decision-making abilities.

If you are stressed about something, struggling with paying bills, or even having a rough patch in your relationship, you must either clear your mind, size down, or don’t trade. You never want to carry negative and anxious emotions into the open with you. Always try to be as clear and focused as possible and take care of things that could take your ‘eye off of the prize’ after you wrap up your day.

  1. Network And Talk With Others

Trading is more of a solo game. Every day you go to battle on your own, but that doesn’t mean you can’t leverage a network or community. Taking the time every day to bounce ideas off other traders, soak up information, and become aware of what other people are watching will help you better read the market environment we are in. If everyone is sitting on their hands and complaining about the lack of opportunity today, you may want to keep your size small and trade more on the safer side. Surrounding yourself with a strong network and community will give you an outlet before the open to soak up new ideas, gauge incoming opportunities, and ultimately lower some of the anxiety that comes from sitting at the desk alone.

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