How to Use Daily Reminders to Control Bad Habits

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How to Use Daily Reminders to Control Bad Habits

No matter how long you have been in the trading industry, sometimes you tend to deviate from your routine. You may have a trading plan and some strategies but probably because of boredom you go against them. There are times that you skip trades and there are times that you feel you are taking the right trades but end up failing. No matter what these problem are or what are the things that cause it, they have to be controlled immediately.

Trading badly once or twice is an issue in itself but it does not have to happen all over again in many trading sessions to come. You have to put in mind that trading is a business and that if you have bad business practices you have to stop them the moment you notice them happening. There is always a chance that the same thing will happen again but every time it will happen you have to stop it before it becomes worst. This is why you need to understand some tips that can help you get rid of the same mistakes or same bad habits over and over again. This can actually help your bank account remain healthy.

BE AWARE OF THE ISSUE

There are many trading issues out there but even when you have a full proof plan that you are following there are still problems that you will most likely face. These problems could include not trading a trade or trades that you should, taking a trade that you should not have, and messing up a trade by taking profits too late or too early. Another problem would be taking too much risk and trying so hard to get do away risks. However, the last two problems are not big concerns when it comes to binary options.

Despite of such issues, you have to know what is happening and when it will probably happen. For example, out of boredom or if there is a quiet market you may try taking extra trades. You do this because you believe that some extra cash can be worth risking for even when using a new strategy. If you mess up you can have to take some notes by writing down what messed up including your thoughts that moment you failed. If your chart does not have any writing feature, you can screenshot your trades and then save them. As the day ends you can type your comments beside the screenshot. You can screenshot every trading day so that you can have a visual journal of everything you did.

HAVE A DAILY REMINDER

It is also good to constantly remind yourself of the things that you need to do and the things that you have done during the day. You can do o by writing to yourself as a reminder for what shall transpire the next day. Make sure to make it brief and concise. For example, make a simple note when you have recently been skipping trader and you had to be awestruck when those trades earned while you were simply sitting pretty. Your notes can be from personal issues to your ideas and proposed plans on how to overcome future trading errors. As morning comes you look at your notes and you can briskly move on with your day. Make sure your mind is actually clear before you fill it up with some new reminders.

HAVE A RITUAL

You might think that having strict rituals can out you under the Obsessive Compulsive category of mental disorders. However, this is not the case. Rituals can help you get on with your day in a progressive manner. When it comes to trading your ritual may involve issues on your charts and writing comments on your state of mind when you messed up a trade. Taking screenshots can be part of your routine. Remember to take shots of all your trade so that you can keep track of the right data. You can always learn from what you have saved in your computer. This is basically good because it’s hard for you to notice trades in real time. So reviewing them could be a good idea.

When you wake up every day, you repeat all of these point and even say them aloud.

Control Bad Habits with Daily Reminders

Even after a decade of a trading, I still do things some days that go against my trading plan and strategies. Sometime I take extra trades out of boredom, other times I skip trades, and other times I take all the right trades but fail to manage them properly. Regardless of what the problem is, or what causes it (the rationalization is always a bit different), these tendencies need to be reigned in quickly.

Messing up one or two trades is one thing, but it can’t be allowed to go on for multiple trading sessions in a row. Trading is a business, and bad business practices need to be stopped as soon as they are noticed. It’s likely the issue will pop up again down the road, but each time it needs to addressed and controlled as quickly as possible.

Here’s my nightly ritual which may help you keep your particular problem isolated to a occasional mess up, instead of a constant bad habit which will drain your trading account.

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Notice Your Issue

There are lots of trading issues, but once you have a plan in place that you should be following (based on tested profitability) there are three main problems:

  • not taking trades you should
  • taking trades you shouldn’t
  • Somehow messing it up once in a trade, by either taking profits too early or too late, or taking on too much risk or trying too hard to minimize risk. With binary options this third point isn’t as much a concern, since risk and reward are fixed at the outset of the trade.

Regardless of the issue, define what is occurring and what is going on when the issue pops up.

For example, maybe you take extra trades when you are bored, or when the market is quiet and moving rhythmically so you think making a few extra dollars is worth the risk of taking a trade based on an untested strategy.

Use the “text” feature on your charts (if available) to write down what you messed up and your basic thoughts at the time of the mess up. If your charts don’t have a writing feature, take a screenshot of each of your trades, save them, and then at the end of the day use a little program like Microsoft’s “Paint” to type in your comments.

Keep screenshots of every trading day, with all your trades and comments, that way at the end of the day you have a visual record what you did, and why you did what you did.

Usually right before I go to bed, I write myself a reminder for the next day about what I need to focus on. Usually it is very brief, with what I need to do and how I can do it.

For example, if you have been skipping trades recently and have had to watch in horror as those trades would have produced a profit while you instead sat on the sidelines, then make a simple note for yourself at night.

The note may read, in point form, something like:

-ONLY goal for today is to get into the trades I should

-If valid setup, place order and then sit on hands until the trade is over

-I don’t know what will happen in the future, so I just need to trust my signals and take the trades

The note will vary depending upon your personal issue, your psychology and your ideas on how to overcome the issue.

During the day, remind yourself of these points and let them seep in. Ideally, speak them out loud before and during trades to make sure you are following the advice.

I do this at night because by then I have been away from trading for several hours, and my mind is likely to be clearer after a break, so I can more objectively write a few thoughts that will help me the next day.

The Full Ritual

The daily ritual consists of pointing out issues on my charts, and writing basic comments about my state of mind at the time of the mess up.

I then take screenshots of my charts so I have a record of all my trades, issues and comments to refer back to. Take screenshots of all trades, showing enough data to provide a context for the trade. You may notice issues after the market closes, when you review you trades, you didn’t notice in real time.

At night–every night, even if things are going well–I make a note for myself and put it on my trading desk outlining two or three key things to remember the next day. Most of the time these will have to do with an issue that cropped up the prior day or recently, but sometimes they will just reminders to stay present in the moment, take all valid trade signals or don’t take random (untested) trades.

During the next trading day, I repeat these points, and say them out loud before and during trades so the thought is in my mind and can help prevent mistakes from being made in real-time.

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.” [1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

Table of Contents

From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself) can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Reference

[1] ^ Getting Things Done: Trusted System
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Dustin Wax

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Last Updated on March 31, 2020

Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

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Procrastination is very literally the opposite of productivity. To produce something is to pull it forward, while to procrastinate is to push it forward — to tomorrow, to next week, or ultimately to never.

Procrastination fills us with shame — we curse ourselves for our laziness, our inability to focus on the task at hand, our tendency to be easily led into easier and more immediate gratifications. And with good reason: for the most part, time spent procrastinating is time spent not doing things that are, in some way or other, important to us.

There is a positive side to procrastination, but it’s important not to confuse procrastination at its best with everyday garden-variety procrastination.

Sometimes — sometimes! — procrastination gives us the time we need to sort through a thorny issue or to generate ideas. In those rare instances, we should embrace procrastination — even as we push it away the rest of the time.

Table of Contents

Why We Procrastinate After All?

We procrastinate for a number of reasons, some better than others. One reason we procrastinate is that, while we know what we want to do, we need time to let the ideas “ferment” before we are ready to sit down and put them into action.

Some might call this “creative faffing”; I call it, following copywriter Ray Del Savio’s lead, “concepting”. [1]

Whatever you choose to call it, it’s the time spent dreaming up what you want to say or do, weighing ideas in your mind, following false leads and tearing off on mental wild goose chases, and generally thinking things through.

To the outside observer, concepting looks like… well, like nothing much at all. Maybe you’re leaning back in your chair, feet up, staring at the wall or ceiling, or laying in bed apparently dozing, or looking out over the skyline or feeding pigeons in the park or fiddling with the Japanese vinyl toys that stand watch over your desk.

If ideas are the lifeblood of your work, you have to make time for concepting, and you have to overcome the sensation— often overpowering in our work-obsessed culture — that faffing, however creative, is not work.

Is Procrastination Bad?

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re “concepting” when in fact you’re just not sure what you’re supposed to be doing.

Spending an hour staring at the wall while thinking up the perfect tagline for a marketing campaign is creative faffing; staring at the wall for an hour because you don’t know how to come up with a tagline, or don’t know the product you’re marketing well enough to come up with one, is just wasting time.

Lack of definition is perhaps the biggest friend of your procrastination demons. When we’re not sure what to do — whether because we haven’t planned thoroughly enough, we haven’t specified the scope of what we hope to accomplish in the immediate present, or we lack important information, skills, or resources to get the job done.

It’s easy to get distracted or to trick ourselves into spinning our wheels doing nothing. It takes our mind off the uncomfortable sensation of failing to make progress on something important.

The answer to this is in planning and scheduling. Rather than giving yourself an unspecified length of time to perform an unspecified task (“Let’s see, I guess I’ll work on that spreadsheet for a while”) give yourself a limited amount of time to work on a clearly defined task (“Now I’ll enter the figures from last months sales report into the spreadsheet for an hour”).

Giving yourself a deadline, even an artificial one, helps build a sense of urgency and also offers the promise of time to “screw around” later, once more important things are done.

For larger projects, planning plays a huge role in whether or not you’ll spend too much time procrastinating to reach the end reasonably quickly.

A good plan not only lists the steps you have to take to reach the end, but takes into account the resources, knowledge and inputs from other people you’re going to need to perform those steps.

Instead of futzing around doing nothing because you don’t have last month’s sales report, getting the report should be a step in the project.

Otherwise, you’ll spend time cooling your heels, justifying your lack of action as necessary: you aren’t wasting time because you want to, but because you have to.

How Bad Procrastination Can Be

Our mind can often trick us into procrastinating, often to the point that we don’t realize we’re procrastinating at all.

After all, we have lots and lots of things to do; if we’re working on something, aren’t we being productive – even if the one big thing we need to work on doesn’t get done?

One way this plays out is that we scan our to-do list, skipping over the big challenging projects in favor of the short, easy projects. At the end of the day, we feel very productive: we’ve crossed twelve things off our list!

That big project we didn’t work on gets put onto the next day’s list, and when the same thing happens, it gets moved forward again. And again.

Big tasks often present us with the problem above – we aren’t sure what to do exactly, so we look for other ways to occupy ourselves.

In many cases too, big tasks aren’t really tasks at all; they’re aggregates of many smaller tasks. If something’s sitting on your list for a long time, each day getting skipped over in favor of more immediately doable tasks, it’s probably not very well thought out.

You’re actively resisting it because you don’t really know what it is. Try to break it down into a set of small tasks, something more like the tasks you are doing in place of the one big task you aren’t doing.

More consequences of procrastination can be found in this article: 8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life

Procrastination, a Technical Failure

Procrastination is, more often than not, a sign of a technical failure, not a moral failure.

It’s not because we’re bad people that we procrastinate. Most times, procrastination serves as a symptom of something more fundamentally wrong with the tasks we’ve set ourselves.

It’s important to keep an eye on our procrastinating tendencies, to ask ourselves whenever we notice ourselves pushing things forward what it is about the task we’ve set ourselves that simply isn’t working for us.

Learn more about how to fix your procrastination problem here: What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

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