Traders often fall into the trap of procrastination and avoiding tasks and they know it is to their detriment. Procrastination is the deliberate (or even subconscious and unaware) avoidance of tasks or actions that need to be taken. Let’s examine a few of the tasks that traders may actively avoid or put off:
Making decisions about their trades – ever caught yourself dithering and staying in too long and just watching a bit too much? Or even putting off trading altogether due to a bad trading day previously…
Analysing past trades or back-testing your method – A lot can be learned from the past and yet this is a basic that many traders ignore. They put off analysing their trades (both winners and losers) on the basis they don’t have time or they made a profit so why does it matter? But really, we all know there is lots of be learned and therefore mastered by this analysis
Setting up a new system. You want to start trading a new system or a new commodity and yet for some reason, it never quite happens or it’s always a project you’ll look at next week.
Tons of non-trading activities (washing up anyone?!)
Ok so I am guessing you already know you procrastinate and it is a problem for you. But do you know why you procrastinate?
Individuals (and not just traders) procrastinate for a wide variety of reasons. But it is important to understand why you are putting off certain tasks so that you can begin to address that.
It’s a boring task – for example, a tax return. It is labourious but it has got to be done. Yet you would rather wash up (can you sense a theme here with washing up?… I’ll tell you a story about that later!)
It is overwhelming you. Sometimes a task can seem too big or too major and we don’t know how to start it and that can be really scary. Instead of getting on with it, we run away and avoid it instead.
Stress and anxiety – whether related to the task or other events in life. When we are stressed, our congitive abilities and our abikity to cope and do things often collapses and we feel helpless to do much
Lack of structure or time constraints. Especially true if you trade full time at home and only need to look at your computer for an hour or so a day. What do you do with your time? I often find people who have 8 hours to do something that will take 5 minutes never get it done.
So are you a procrastinator? Ask yourself these questions:
Filling your day with low priority tasks from your To Do List.
Reading e-mails several times without starting work on them or deciding what you’re going to do with them.
Sitting down to start a high-priority task, and almost immediately going off to make a cup of coffee.
Leaving an item on your To Do list for a long time, even though you know it’s important.
Regularly saying “Yes” to unimportant tasks that others ask you to do, and filling your time with these instead of getting on with the important tasks already on your list.
Waiting for the “right mood” or the “right time” to tackle the important task at hand.
Tips to prevent procrastination
Knowing you are procrasting is one thing but doing something about it is totally another. It can require dedication and a desire to change bad habits.
Here are my top 10 tips!
Take action today – stop thinking about it and just get on with this
Pick TWO things you are putting off and focus on getting them done
Chose an awesome piece of music that makes you feel happy and energised and listen to it whilst working
Block your time. Set aside an hour a day (it could be a whole hour or three blocks of 20minutes) and use that for these tasks you’ve been putting off.
Learn a little self-compassion. Stop beating yourself up about what you’ve not done and focus your energy on doing it instead
Examine why you are procrastinating. Only once you know why can you really do something practical about it
Work out the cost of your procrastination. How long have you spent doing insignifcant tasks instead, have you lost any money as a result? etc
Get a buddy. Someone who makes you accountable who you can talk to and update on these tasks
Reward yourself for your progress!
and finally….. nip into my members area (it’s free to join, use the tab at the top) and find the HypnoTrading Procrastinator Pit Stop Tool to help you stop this bad habit.
Oh yes…. I said I had a little story for you and this is 100% true. When I was training in hypnotherapy, we had to choose a task we hated and use self-hypnosis to see if we could improve it. So I did. I picked washing up as at the time I didn’t have a dishwasher and I hated washing up. Even now, when I visit home I am a dab hand at doing the washing up! It only took me one hypnosis session too!
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