Clocking In: Good Time Management Tips For Forex Traders

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Forex trading offers unique opportunities, with instant funding and highly liquid markets that operate around the clock. However, this 24-hour availability can represent a double edged sword: with the possibility of trading at almost any time of the day or night, it can be easy to become unfocused and not settle into the most effective trading pattern.



Why is good time management crucial for forex traders?


The temptation is there to trade at every available opportunity, and this is understandable, especially if like most people, you are juggling trading with another job. However, quantity is often the enemy of quality in forex trading. Pushing yourself to work at every hour of the day won’t necessarily result in more successful trades, and it could soon lead to burnout.


Forex trading has many aspects to it, and the best traders understand that it’s a continual learning curve. It’s crucial to have a good knowledge of the basics to avoid falling into bear traps. However, in such a dynamic and complex market you always need to be broadening and deepening your understanding to stay ahead of the game.


For example, it’s important to keep up with the geopolitical events that might affect currency prices, and study the latest economic data releases that are relevant to the currency pairs you trade with. Then there’s technical analysis tools to get to grips with, which can help you to identify the best times to enter and exit the markets.


As well as all this, you need to closely monitor and review your trading and risk management strategies, and also keep track of your progress in a trading journal. It’s no wonder that most traders occasionally feel overwhelmed by their to-do lists. With such open-ended tasks, it can be easy to get sidetracked down unnecessary routes that eat up your time.



Time management is therefore important not just to guard against overtrading, but also to help you filter out distractions and save you from getting bogged down in a miasma of detail. It may be fascinating to disappear down the occasional rabbit hole, and who knows, the information may lead to a brilliant trading move one day.



However, without discipline and focus, the majority of good trading opportunities will pass you by. It’s therefore important to learn how to navigate the forex markets in a time-efficient manner, to protect both your capital investment and your mental health. Here are some tips to help you put together an effective time management strategy.



Understand forex market trading hours


The first step is to work out when the most active trading hours are for the currency pairs that you trade with. Although the markets are open 24 hours a day, they operate across overlapping time zones rather than in a globally uniform manner.


Essentially, trading hours are divided into four major sessions: London (7am to 4pm GMT); New York (noon to 8pm GMT); Sydney (10pm to 5am GMT); and Tokyo (11pm to 8am GMT). The London (or European) session opens just as the Tokyo (or Asian) session is closing, and this crossover period can be a particularly active time.



When the New York (or North American) session opens at noon, there is another spike in trading activity. There is a further period of volatility towards the end of the day when the London market is preparing to close. If you are trading majors such as the EUR/USD, then look for crossover times to identify the best trading hours.



However, the most active and volatile periods do not suit all types of trading strategies. They may benefit scalpers or swing traders, but if you prefer to adopt long term trading positions, then you are probably best avoiding the active hours for your currency pairs.

For people who work full time hours of 9-5, it’s still possible to trade during the peak hours for the major currencies such as the EUR, the USD, and the GBP, because these peak at 7am -9am and 4pm-7pm.



Work out your priorities


As previously mentioned, forex trading can seem like a many-headed monster at times. To avoid exhausting yourself by trying to do everything, work out those aspects that are most critical and relevant to your trading strategy. For example, if you favour technical analysis, allocate a proportion of your time to market analysis and interpretation.



If you focus more on fundamental analysis, make sure that you use the most credible and reliable sources. Set alerts and reminders for new economic data releases that are relevant to your currency pairs, and follow news topics for geopolitical events such as elections, civil unrest, international conflict, natural disasters, and so on.



However, bookend the time you spend on research and analysis, otherwise it can turn into an amorphous and never-ending task that will constantly distract you from taking the next steps. Be fussy about the credibility of your sources, because an hour spent absorbing high-quality content is worth a day spent wading through misinformation and fake news.



Establish a routine


Decide how many hours per day or week you have to devote to trading, and then divide up each training session into specific tasks. For example, you might spend the first hour on research and analysis, the second on reviewing your current positions and identifying new opportunities, and the third on placing trades and reviewing completed trades.

Consider your strengths and weaknesses



How you use your time to best effect depends to a certain extent on your personality and individual strengths and weaknesses. Spend some time on self-reflection, or alternatively take a personality test or ask the opinion of friends, family, and colleagues. This can be more helpful than self-assessment, because we all have blind spots.



If you are an impatient person with quick wits and a high tolerance for risk, then you may suit trading sessions in short sharp bursts rather than longer blocks of time. Be strict about not packing in too many trades, and develop the emotional resilience needed to avoid revenge trading.

On the other hand, if you are a deep thinker and dislike being rushed into decisions, you will probably thrive with longer trading sessions that allow you to drill down into detail and think carefully about your next moves. However, keep an eye on your goals and make sure that you are not being over-cautious in your decision making.



Sort out your trading environment


It is likely that you are working from home, and this is not always conducive to an ideal trading environment. If you do have a spare room to use as an office, zone off a space with furniture or a screen, to form a physical as well as mental barrier between yourself and the rest of the household.


Make it clear that you do not want any interruptions, and make sure the TV is off and pets and kids are in another room. Shut down any ‘fun’ browsing windows on your computer and give 100 per cent of your focus to your work. If necessary, invest in some good-quality noise cancelling headphones to block out unwanted noise from elsewhere.


This way when you sit down at your desk, you will instantly be in work mode, and find it easier to break free from any mental clutter than can cause your mind to wander and eat away at your precious time.

Recognise when doing nothing is the best policy


Do not put yourself under pressure to place a trade if there is no genuinely good reason or opportunity to do so. Trading for the sake of it will only drag down your profit targets, and could lead into a spiral of disillusionment. The best traders have mastered the art of knowing when to do nothing.



Take regular breaks


Finally, scheduling in time for rest and self-care is just as important as everything else. Forex trading is mentally and emotionally demanding, and if you are not careful you can fall prey to stress and exhaustion. Make time to do activities that refresh your batteries, such as exercise, hobbies, or socialising with friends.



Time is money, as the aphorism goes, but in forex trading the truth is more complex than this. Of course, you need to put the time in to get the results you want, but how you use the time is more important than simply clocking up the hours and maxing out your trading budget.

A good time management strategy will steer you away from the temptation to overtrade, which will only result in burnout and disillusionment. It will also help you to sort out your priorities, so that you do not waste time and energy on activities that bear no immediate relevance to your currency pairs or trading strategy.



By learning how to make your time work for you, you will soon be on the path to making consistent profits in your forex trading, and each small success will breed further success.

FTUK Funded Account Disclaimer

CFTC Rule 4.41 – Hypothetical or Simulated performance results have certain limitations. Unlike an actual performance record, simulated results do not represent actual trading. Also, because the trades have not actually been executed, the results may have under-or-over compensated for the impact, if any, of certain market factors, such as lack of liquidity. Simulated trading programs, in general, are also subject to the fact that they are designed with the benefit of hindsight. No representation is being made that any account will or is likely to achieve profit or losses similar to those shown.

All our funded accounts come with a fixed equity stop out level. Once the account equity level gets below this fixed stop out bar, we will close all running trades and disable trading and access. The stop out level is a fixed value for each funding level, this means that any profit which has been made by the trader increases the loss allowance.

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