help with writing an effective trading journal

Discussion in 'Professional Trading' started by forsalenyc, Dec 31, 2008.

  1. as a part of my new years resolution, I want to write a personal journal of trades I make each day. Every weekend, I will sit down and review all the trades in objective manner. I hope to learn from bad trades, reassess confidence in good trades, and to identify potential trades.

    If you are writing journals/log or have done so in the past....please share your thoughts. what are some effective ways to write it? did it help? what changes has it brought to you?
     
  2. I did that for the first few years I traded full time and think it's very useful. However I'd keep two separate logs. In one, write a synopsis of your day as soon as it's over. This should be a record of how you felt, where you screwed up, the things you did right, what you were thinking before a trade, why you didn't follow your rules, etc. Reviewing this journal after a while will really drive home a lot of things for you and probably reveal some habits that you might want to correct.

    The second should be a spreadsheet that boils all your trading down to statistics that you can review and slice and dice to try to glean useful information from. Entry time, price, shares, p/l, win rate, holding time, cents per share, all the nuts and bolts of your trading. If you base your trades on charts, attach an image of what you were looking at before and after the trade. This is the info you want to review to refine your trading and see where you want to put more effort or money to work and what isn't worth holding on to.

    All the really good traders I know keep excellent records and stats and review them often.
     
  3. I use the "comments" feature in excel to jot down the notes of the trade in question. You can also load the screen shot on an image hoster and embed the link in the comments as well.

    Very effective as the spreadsheet gives you the trade data at a glance so it is easy to sift through those you wish to re-visit.
     
  4. Just a tip, most people don't do this but: take notes on trades you don't take.

    See how they worked out, the reasons why you didn't take the trade, etc.

    That way you'll also hone your skills on either capturing trades that could have been profitable and help separate the losses and why.

    Another thing that I would do, depending on how you trade. I don't know if your a chart trader or what, but I am more of a graphical trader (charts, pivots, etc.) so I would also take a snap shot when possible of the setup and follow through. You can save it and and link to it depending on how you keep your journal for better review.

    The second journal idea with the actual numbers in a spreadsheet to ponder upon is a good idea too btw*.

    -troll
     
  5. Brandonf

    Brandonf ET Sponsor

    A very good new years resolution for a trader to have forsalenyc. Good luck. I will have either a video or a report of some type that I post in the coming weeks showing you exactly how I have kept and used mine over the years.
     
  6. thx i'll be looking forward to it.