Trading, just as any other mental activity, demands a lot of attention. However, it might be incredibly hard to focus, especially if you trade only part-time. That’s where the ability to train your focus comes in handy.
Just like any other skill, it can be developed and improved, and that’s what you might want to include in your daily life to boost your trading. Besides, it would be helpful in many other spheres of your life.
Let’s review a few methods on how you can improve your focus, from least to most complicated.
Caffeine in small amounts does wonders for your nervous system and helps you gain enough energy to stay focused on a task. Remember that the dose should be moderate, and, the proper effect doesn’t kick in until later. It’s better to start your working day 1-1.5 hours ahead with a cup of coffee or tea. In case you don’t have access to any of those, keep a bar of dark chocolate in your bag. It contains just as much caffeine as a cup of freshly brewed espresso!
2. Off with distractions
The main reason we all get distracted sometimes is social media. It’s not easy to resist the temptation of checking your Instagram feed or sending a message to a friend on WhatsApp, but oh, does it stand in your way to productivity. If you are a little bit too invested into social media, consider a simple yet effective solution.
There are a variety of apps you can download on your devices to set a time restriction for specific apps and functions.
Here are just some you can consider downloading:
- Social Fever
3. Micro tasks
Let’s say you have one big task to complete. It might seem overwhelming, and it’s easy to lose interest and focus at the very beginning. To get through it, you need to split it into several steps. Then, split those steps into even smaller steps.
For example, you are on cleaning duty at home. Seems like a lot of work, but let’s simplify it and break it down to essentials:
Plug in the vacuum
Turn it on
Vacuum the rug
Vacuum the floor in one room
Dust one shelf
It might seem a bit primitive, but that’s why it works. Once you accomplish a goal you have set for yourself, your brain releases the happy chemicals (dopamine in that case) that keep you going and fill you with the sense of accomplishment. When riding that feeling good wave, it’s easier to slide right into the next task, then the next one, and so on. This way, your focus and motivation build up like a snowball.
Remember, your brain doesn’t know the difference between big and tiny tasks. Accomplishment is an accomplishment, and you need to use that loophole to give your productivity a real kick.
4. Pomodoro technique
A very useful technique that helps you get through any task was invented in the 80s by Francesco Cirillo.
What you need to do is to divide your working time into intervals with breaks. Traditionally, this method suggests you are working for 25 minutes, have a 5-minute break, and then repeat the whole process until the task is over. This way, you are using the most optimal time during which your brain is capable of focusing, and then let it cool down and distract from the current task.
In theory, this method sounds easy and super effective. However, once you start using it, you might find it difficult to focus entirely on one task for 25 minutes, even if this amount of time seems reasonable. You might find yourself looking at the clock and counting minutes until your next break, and that’s when the time seems to stop for you completely.
So, take it easy. After all, being able to focus is a skill you can nourish and strengthen. Start with 10 minutes of work, followed by 5 minutes of breaks. You don’t have to divide your whole working day into those intervals. Pick a task that you have been putting off for a long time and try working on it with this simplified Pomodoro technique. Estimate your results. How productive was your working process? Remember, it’s not about speed - it’s about quality and your ability to stay focused.
Continue using those 10-5 intervals. And, once it gets easier, expand it to 15-5. Get used to your new timing. Then, extend it once more.
When you are ready, you should be able to pull off 25 working minutes like it’s nothing. Just remember, breaks are essential as well! You need to keep your mind in that healthy work-rest balance for it to work at its fullest potential.
Your mind doesn’t work at its fullest potential unless you work on it. The process might take some time, but with enough determination and the right guidance, you can reach any goal you set. Remember, nothing is impossible when you add your best intention to it.