Updated: November 20, 2017
One of the most important things to realize as an aspiring trader is that if you want to earn a living as a professional trader, you need to start acting like one.
Most importantly, you need to start following the habits that lead to success. One of the main things that separates retail traders from the professionals is the weekly and daily routine they follow.
Unless you are prepared to follow a strict routine without letting anything get in your way, you may not have a future in forex trading. In this article I will give you a detailed set-by-step guide to how you can create a perfect forex trading routine that works for you and that you can follow every day.
Weekly forex trading routine
Choose a day, either Saturday or Sunday, to do your weekly market scan. This is the time you set aside to plan out the entire trading week ahead; scan the markets for interesting set-ups, create a watchlist, and write trading plans.
Also make sure during this time that you check an economic calendar, for example the one on Forex Factory, for any upcoming news announcements that involves the currency pairs you are planning to trade.
As a swing trader, you can focus your attention mostly on the calendar items designated as “high impact,” and ignore the lower impact news events.
It is not uncommon to scan around 30 markets during a weekly market scan to look for set-ups that appear interesting. As you gain experience, you can quickly tell if a market is a potential candidate for your weekly watchlist or not.
That way, you can save lots of time and only spend time doing technical analysis on the currency pairs that actually make it to your watchlist.
Filter out interesting charts so you end up with a watchlist of ideally 5 to 10 currency pairs for the week ahead. Your watchlist could look similar to this one borrowed from Tradeciety.
You should be able to set aside 3-5 hours for your weekly market scan, depending on how many markets you want to cover. Remember that this time belongs to you and you cannot allow yourself to be distracted or disturbed while doing your weekly analysis.
Separate trading and charting
I recommend using TradingView or a similar charting tool to do your weekly technical analysis. Generally, it is best to use a charting tool that is separate from the platform you use to place your trades for this purpose.
The reason I’m recommending that is because it greatly reduces your chances of making trades based on impulses if you are constantly logged in to your broker’s platform and performing your technical analysis there.
Therefore, make sure you only place planned and well thought-out trades by separating your trading from your analysis and prepping work.
Set price alerts
Once you have completed your weekly watchlist, set alerts ahead the relevant price levels using the price alert function in TradingView.
By doing this, you will be notified in advance before the price enters the area where you think an interesting opportunity is present and you will not have to spend your whole day staring into the screens to observe the price action.
For swing traders, particularly if you are trading on the 1-Day or 4-Hour timeframe, spending less time in front of the screens can often be beneficial. You don’t want to risk getting bored in front of your computer and making silly trading mistakes as a result.
Daily trading routine
Every morning I like to check the financial news to get a feel for what is going on in the markets.
Even though I consider myself to be a technical trader basing my trading decisions on price action alone, I do still feel that it’s necessary to get the overall view of the markets.
Some good and reliable news sources I check every day are Bloomberg and Reuters Markets, as well as browsing over the news that TradingView lists next to the chart of the currency pair you are looking at.
Once you have finished checking the news in the morning, it’s time to go over some charts to see with your own eyes how the markets have traded overnight.
To get an overall feel, I like to check the main stock indexes as well as some commodities. The ones I check on a daily basis are:
- S&P 500
- Hang Seng Index
- Nikkei 225
- Brent crude oil
After the morning market scan is complete you may want to spend some time on updating the trading plans that you created during the weekend.
Check if there are any developments in the markets that would cancel out your idea, or if you otherwise need to make changes to your plans.
In the evening, there are also some tasks that should be taken care of. First of all, this is a perfect time to go over any trading that happened during the day and record them down in your trading journal.
Secondly, check the economic calendar again for any news releases that might happen while you are sleeping. If any major announcements are expected over night. If there are any, you might want to either reduce your risk exposure or get rid of your position altogether.
Lastly, you should spend some time updating your trading plans for the next day based on what has happened today.
Focus on risk management
As you have probably understood from reading this article, most of my effort is spent on planning, preparation, and risk management, and very little time is spent on actually trading the markets.
In my opinion, this is one of the key areas that separate amateurs from professional traders. While the amateur thinks he needs to trade constantly to make money, the professional knows that the money is made from careful planning and patience.
As the legendary stock trader Jesse Livermore once said: “Money is made from sitting, not trading.”
About the author
Fred Vold is an entrepreneur, financial writer, and technical analysis enthusiast. He has been working and traveling in Asia for several years, and is currently based out of Beijing, China. He mainly follows the stock and forex markets, and is currently supporting Learn to Trade forex training services in the Philippines.