I am interested in knowing the format traders keep their journals. I am looking for ideas to become more efficient at keeping notes about myself and my trading. I am more inclined to be electronic as I have the tendency to collect massive amounts of paper. All ideas are welcome. I have been tinkering with different formats for a while and would like to get some feedback from others. So:
Do you keep your journal in a notebook/leather binder type [handwritten] or the electronic/pc type, or perhaps some other?
Are you using some type of trade prep/management worksheets during the trading day which you transfer the information to your journals later?
Also, are you updating your journal in realtime or is it only after the market closes?
Finally, if you keep the electronic/pc type of format, are you using a separate pc other than the machine you trade on?
Thanks in advance!
For a variety of reasons I won't get into, I'm in a prolonged start-up stage so I'm not exactly an authority on matters of trading. However this is a topic I feel very strongly about so I thought I'd post reply. In my management consulting business I'm often harping to clients about the benefits of managing through the use of Key Performance Indicators, i.e., important statistics. For me at least I'm absolutely sure that it will be a factor in improving performance. Of course net profit is the ultimate performance indicator but I know that, by itself, it won't help me improve my performance.
The only way to get meaningful statistics is to keep an automated log. I've cobbled together a MS Access database to record every trade. Included are data like:
- Target exit point and initial stop position.
- Entry and exit times (3 each per trade to handle fade in/out situations).
- Shares traded and prices on entries and exits.
- Reason codes for why I'm making the trade. (E.g., break out from channel, bottom of a pull back.)
- Codes to describe what happened upon entry. (E.g., went the way I expected, went the wrong way and reversed before hitting the stop.)
- Codes to describe what happened on exit. (E.g., too early, right time, too late, hit stop, bailed before hitting stop.)
With all this data in coded, automated form, it will be very easy to extract meaningful performance indicators. Being coded also means it's very quick to enter the data relating to a trade.
I don't know yet what performance indicators will be most useful. My plan is to pump out many kinds and study them at the end of each day/week/month. I can easily see how indicators like average gain per share (winning trades) compared to average loss per share (losing trades) will be very enlightening.
I also don't know whether this database will be updatable as I'm actually making the trades. I suspect that I'll keep a temporary paper log and transfer it in during lunch or at the end of the day.
I'm sure that the database, and my use of it, will evolve over time.