Four Ways to Become an Efficient Trader
This column was originally published on RealMoney
on May 30 at 11:33 a.m. EDT. It's being republished as a bonus for TheStreet.com readers. For more information about subscribing to RealMoney,
Because time is so precious, it's extremely important to remain focused when you are doing your homework. Jim Cramer often preaches that each stock in your portfolio requires one hour of homework each week. But if you aren't efficient, that one hour can easily turn into two. Pretty soon, your little portfolio management project has become a full-time job.
While I still have a tendency to get distracted during long days in front of the monitors, here are some techniques I use to minimize distractions and maximize my work efficiency.
- Write a checklist of all of your tasks, including an estimate of the time it will take to complete each task. This is your "shopping list" for the day or evening and will help ensure that you do everything you need to. By following a list with a time element, you'll find it easier to stay on task.
- When you start each new task, write it down on a Post-It, along with the time of day that you started the task. Stick that Post-It on the side of your monitor where it is always in view. That little visual reminder does wonders. If you are like me, you'll become much more conscious of straying from your work when you've got something staring back at you all the time.
- Take periodic breaks away from your desk. Surfing the Web does not count as a break -- that's just you not taking care of business. Instead, do something else. Go for a walk, give your spouse or children a hug and chat for a minute, do the dishes or take out the garbage. A quick five-minute break will do wonders for your concentration because you'll return to your work refreshed.
- Set a "drop dead" time when work must stop. Be true to that deadline and never work longer than the time allotted. Adhere to this stringent rule, and you'll avoid sitting at your computer for countless hours, working hard, but never really accomplishing much.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV