I can’t believe it’s March already. It feels like only yesterday we were ringing in the New Year and new decade!
I’ve been reflecting on the year 2020 so far and I’d love to share with you my thoughts and observations. It has been an interesting start to the decade for many reasons and many lessons have come out of it.
For the first time (ever) I have time freedom.
What does that mean?
Up until I had my children, I always worked full time. After having our first baby I was a stay at home mum with a newborn and after a year I was back at work two days a week as a radiographer. The other days I was at home with my boy. The nature of being at home with little ones is that the day is very often dictated by what they need. My days were busy, fun, sometimes challenging and often very exhausting! It was around this time that I started a direct sales business, so my son’s nap times were often used to build my business as well. We had our little girl a few years later and I found myself at home with two children under four. Looking back, it was a crazy, busy time and I did find myself in a state of overwhelm at times.
Fast forward to the present day and I find myself with so much time on my hands; my house is quiet and peaceful! I now have two children at school full time AND I quit my twenty year career late last year to be a full time working from home mum. I’ve been holding on to my career and qualification for the past few years like a security blanket, even though financially I have had the freedom to let it go. It was in December 2019 that I finally felt safe and secure enough to walk away from it all and actively pursue my working from home career.
I have found that working from home and truly being my own boss is one of the hardest things to do as it takes a lot of self-discipline and self-motivation. At first it was a little unsettling as I have always been used to having something to do or someone to look after. In fact, I felt a little lost for many weeks. I would get to the end of my day and wonder what it was I had done as I hadn’t achieved what I wanted to achieve, even though I had all the time in the world to accomplish it!
I also found myself looking at the charts too often during the day and becoming slightly reclusive. I started to break my number one rule of no overtrading because, why not?! If the market is moving well, I could just keep going right? Well, for me… no. It seems the more I trade, the worse I do. I’ve realised two to three trades per session (with an average time of two to five minutes per trade) is my sweet spot. After that I start to take sub-optimal trades which I shouldn’t be in. Partly, I think I lose focus as 45 minutes is about my limit when it comes to watching market movement. After that I need a brain break!
So, I realised that if I am going to be working from home fulltime, I need structure and balance in my day. I took a few weeks, but I finally found my flow!
Here are my top three tips for those who work from home and need a little guidance:
1) Have a schedule
I am not good with Excel, but I did create a simple google sheet with all the days along the top and times (every half an hour) along the left-hand side. If you aren’t good with computers, just use a good old-fashioned pen and paper.
I have scheduled the 2 hours I will be trading futures… that would be 9-10 AM Perth time Singapore Open and 4-5 PM London open. I have scheduled time for gym, meditation, cooking, kids’ drop-off, kids’ pick-up, socialising, yoga, housework, business work and also date night!
Is my day so regimented that there is no room for flexibility or other types of fun? No. It is simply a guide to what my ideal day looks like and it helps keep me on track with what I would like to achieve and do during the day.
2) Write a To Do List
This sounds obvious but how many times do you get to the end of the day and feel like you have accomplished nothing during it?
Before I go to sleep I write five things I want to achieve during the next day and I literally cross through them when I have done them. There is something about that crossing off act that makes me feel like I am being very productive!
3) Write a To Be List
Ok, this is a little left of field, but I really like this one. In a world of ‘busyness’ and a whole lot of ‘doing’, who will you BE today? We are human beings not human doings.
Will you BE the best version mum/dad/wife/husband/son/daughter that you can be today?
Will you BE the patient, disciplined and responsible trader that you can be today?
Will you BE the person that people look at and go ‘Wow, I am so glad they are in my life’ today?
Will you BE the person who makes a difference in the world, no matter how small today?
You get the idea…
I hope these tips help!
Have a great trading week.
Dani McLeod is a private trader from Perth, WA. IDTA Trader and Member, Trading Business School Alumni. When she’s not spending time with family and friends or trading, she loves practicing martial arts, yoga and qi gong. You can view how she trades futures here: www.daytradermum.com