Scheduling Time For Market Study
by Van K. Tharp, Ph.D.
Bill, a trader, called my office complaining that he never has enough time to really study the markets.
He said his lack of time often resulted in serious problems, and he expressed an interest in consulting
with me if I could help him solve his problem. I told Bill that I had helped others with similar problems,
but that we would have to schedule two intensive days together in order to work on it. Bill exclaimed that
he couldn't possibly give up two days out of his busy schedule. "Couldn't we do it through hourly phone
consultations over the next couple of months?" he asked. Just as I was explaining why hourly phone
consultations would not solve the problem and would be an inefficient use of my time and his for this
particular problem, Bill suddenly had to leave for an unexpected meeting.
During the next six months, I received three more urgent phone calls from Bill, each following a similar
pattern. Bill has a problem that many traders shareŚworking hard but not efficiently. Many traders spend
hours gathering market information, calculating various indicators and looking at patterns in the market.
Then they feel a lot of pressure because they might miss an important move in the market. As a result,
they spend their entire day gathering every last piece of information they can. Somehow, despite their
best efforts, they never seem to trade well. Why? Because their time is spent ineffectively on activities
that have little to do with trading success.
If you don't devote your energy to the appropriate task, you will waste a tremendous amount of time.
Most traders spend their time analyzing the market to predict where the market is going instead of
developing low-risk trading ideas in which the amount of potential loss is very small. I recommend that
every trader plan and devote a specific time each day during which to study the markets with that specific
objective of developing low-risk ideas.