I started trading on the side in 2017. I learned some tricks, and I was performing fairly well, so I decided to dive deep in late 2018 when I was changing everything else in my life anyway. To make a long story relatively short, I spent a few months trying out my “system.” As it turned out (and I feared this could be the case), it wasn’t exactly an ironclad system. I wasn’t performing nearly as well as I had hoped, and I could see that many of the lessons I had previously learned–while mostly correct–were wrong enough that they were frequently getting me into trouble.
Once I realized the precarious position I was in, I decided to join the Warrior Trading community. By taking their courses and participating in the chat rooms every day, I was able to really hone my methodology. Being part of a community also helps when you’re doing something that relies on you and only you. You know that other people face the same issues you do. You understand that you’re not a giant screwball afterall.
A couple months ago, I finally got to the point where I felt confident in my method and my execution. My wins aren’t reliable enough to consider myself a pro at day trading yet, but I can state that daytrading is one of the skills in my toolkit without feeling like I’m exaggerating.
All of this is to give some context to who I am and why I feel I can talk about day trading semi-authoritatively. I might go into my trading backstory in more detail some other time, but for now all that is important to know is that I trade Large Cap and Small Cap stocks, usually directly purchasing or short-selling the stocks, but sometimes buying options calls or puts.
What is my trading day like? To be perfectly honest, no two days are the same. It depends on what other responsibilities I have that day, how much focus I want to allot to trading or other activities, and whether I have overlapping appointments. However, in general I aim for something like the following (all times in Eastern Standard):
- 8:00 – Open my charting software, tracking sheets, and broker programs. Check the status of the market overall. Review any leading gappers (Large and Small Cap) on the stock scanners. Add any good candidates to my hotlist for the day.
- 8:30 – Review names from my Large Cap permalist (a list of stocks that I always keep an eye on). Have any of them broken a pattern? Some other kind of interesting activity? Add to my daily hotlist any that look like they’re about to make a move.
- 9:00 – Step away from the keyboard for a break. Grab something to drink, stretch, etc.
- 9:15 – Review gappers from the scanners again (esp. Small Caps). Any new ones? Are the old ones still viable? Review the other hotlist names. Make a final determination of which ones I’m going to focus on at market open, and which will be on the backburner.
- 9:30 – Market opens. Trade! (I don’t trade pre-market)
- 11:00 – Depending on how the market is performing, I typically either step away for a while or end my day at this time. I’ll sometimes continue trading at this point if the market is hot (and I’m in alignment) or if I’m in an active trade at the time (of course).
- 14:00 – (Give or take an hour) If I’m not busy doing other things, I like to return to review my permalist again. Are they moving in the directions I expected? With significant volume? Is there an opportunity forming? Sometimes this is a lucrative time to play options.
Of course, since I live in Eastern Europe, these times are very different for me. But the big idea is this: I typically spend about three hours preparing and trading during a given day–sometimes more, sometimes less. If I’m short on prep time, I tend to skip the Large Caps and focus on Small Caps for that day. I don’t feel comfortable trading Large Caps unless I’m really familiar with the technical and news contexts, whereas successful Small Cap trading tends to require much less knowledge of the context (I typically snipe on Small Caps).