Advice on keeping a Good Journal?

Discussion in 'Professional Trading' started by Brian Diesel, May 2, 2006.

  1. I'm looking to start keeping a journal of my trading. I trade equities, futures, and some forex. Was looking to get some advice on keeping a good journal, and also, the actual format for the journal.

    I'm very anal, so I like things neat. Was thinking about doing an excel file and paste pics of my charts on each trade (entries/exits) in the file. But not sure if I should do it file it by the day, or maybe the symbol etc.

    What is your experience? What have you found most helpful in not only keeping a journal, but a journal that is informative in helping your trading. I don't think there's any use in a journal if you don't go back and review it, and there must be some kind of order to the journal so it's easily read and understood. Kind of like Clif Notes of something. At least that's what I'm thinking.

    Any thoughts? I want to do this and continue to do it. I've tried once in the past and it lasted a whole 2 weeks. I'm sure others have done the same. Would like to hear from those that are disciplined in keeping their journals.


    Brian Diesel
  2. jts


    If you're serious about trading you need to keep a journal. I've used my journals many many times to test ideas on altering strategies or developing new ones. Without the journal data any type of testing would have been impossible or at best very difficult.
    Keep detailed info on all your trades and any market indicators you follow. Keep improving your journal as you gain experience.
  3. I have read it somewhere that a trade journal is different than a trading diary, meaning one covers trades and notes and the other emotions when taking trades and reasoning for taking/exiting trade. Does anyone do both? I think the latter would be for someone like myself, a fairly green piker that is having trouble exectuing.

    I am finding that I am missing trades off my 2 minute charts, scalping, whilst taking trade notes. I have heard it somewhere that I should consider speech recognition. Anyone using that?

    Funny thing happened though, I refined my setups by requiring myself to write them down. Now that I have to explain why I took this or that setup it has caused me to quesiton my setups. This is leading to higher probablility trades by coincidence. For example, not enough wick on that candle or too close to an MA or S and R line.

    If you don't keep some kind of record how can a trader know what is probabilities of winning and losing are?

    I am not sure if I gave you any ideas, but hopefull expanded the topic in a meaningful way.

  4. My advice would be to write what you were thinking as certain points / prices were reached.

    This gives you a hint at what you were thinking when things were live,

    Those tend to be the most important notes to me,


  5. I log all my trades (Forex) in an Excel spreadsheet, down to every last detail I could think of.

    In addition, each trade I make I take a snapshot of the chart, marking my entry and exit and general remarks for getting in and out. This is great for going back to and reviewing!

    I also have a 'journal' which I use to just right stuff down - how I'm feeling, what time I started, why I took a trade, etc. It's basically me talking to myself, calling myself a genius or an idiot.

    At times it can be a pain to go back and log everything, especially after a tough day. However, that information has been very valuable at times when I need/want to review what I did right or wrong.
  6. Thank you everyone! Much appreciated.

    bugscoe, I think I will be doing pretty much the same as what you have. Since all my trading is based on TA, I want to mark the chart and keep a excel file of the trades. I currently keep an excel file of my monthly results. That has helped incredibly. But I want to get even more detailed now that I have the time.

    I think I am actually going to create a very detailed blog of my trading. Maybe it will help someone else's trading. Lord knows I've learn a little here and there from others sites. Even the pikers....
  7. slacker


    If you need a trading journal take a look at Microsoft "OneNote". It was developed for tablet hardware but great as an organizer. Works fine on Win2000 on standard hardware.

    You can have tabs and create pages similar to an Excel workbook.

    Import and cut and past from almost any document.

    It has a built in 'screen clipper' that allows you to copy trading screens into OneNote. I am capturing screens several times a day.

    Once screens are pasted onto OneNote you can annotate using the mouse and drawing tools. (I may purchase a digital tablet just for annotations....)

    I have tabs for every day divided into 'planning, realtime, and after market close review'. I also have a 'Playbook' tabs for screen shots of "fast trends, slow trends, gap up, gap dn, etc. etc. During the day one screen has OneNote up and running for my input or review.

    It has record and playback capability built in. With a microphone on a deskstand I can record notes during the day with a single click so I don't have to type the summary.

    I have moved all of my notes and web clippings to OneNote over the past 3 months and use it all day long.

    OneNote pages can also be saved as an HTML web page.

    You can see a product tour at:

    If you Google OneNote you can find it for sale around $25. 30 day free trial is also available on

    On the down side it is from Microsoft and is a resource pig.

    Good luck!
  8. Thanks I will look into one note
  9. Excellent slacker! That looks great.

    Here is a 60 day trial in anyone interested.

  10. StasDesy


    OneNote is a great tool. I use it for about a year now.

    I started using it when I purchased a tablet in the begining on 2005. At some point I realized that I can also use OneNote on my desktop as a trading jornal.

    I consider OneNote the best program MS managed to include in the office suite. It has free format, ease of use and never failed on me like did all the rest of the office pack.I mean it crashes once in a while but data is never lost.

    Dont forget to install the SP1 for it. SP1 includes screen clipping function.
    #10     May 3, 2006