A trader’s pre market routine should be sacred. Once the bell rings, each and
every day in the markets is unique. By following a daily routine up to that
point, I put myself in the position to make the best decisions in my trading.
Your routine may vary of course, but if you don’t have a morning routine in
your trading, feel free to use mine as a template to start, especially if you
have another job to keep track of. Even though my job directly involves
trading I need to get myself ready for the markets.
Note: I generally tell clients that a swing trader should be in front of their
screens about 30 minutes before the open, a day trader at least 60.
All times central.
6:30 am – This is when I set my alarm. I’m generally up before this, and start
the day with a quick cup of coffee and taking the dog outside.
6:45 am – Check work accounts for messages, email, slack, etc. Respond to
anything urgent and save the rest for after trading room. (I intentionally
don’t have work stuff on my phone).
7:00 am – Start my pre market prep. I start by checking overnight futures
and eyeballing any trades I have on. Options trades I won’t know the exact
p/l until the regular hours trading opens, but I can see how the underlying is
doing. For my morning futures trading, I’ll go back and note key areas in the
NQ, ES, RTY, GC, and CL from the previous day and overnight. I will then go
back and review my stock watchlist for possible stock or option trades in the
8:00 am – I get up and stretch and grab a second cup of coffee, then take a
quick 10-15 min to catch up on personal texts / email. Feed the dog.
8:15 am – Back at the desk confirming key levels in the futures, marking
them on charts and order book.
8:30 am – Markets open! For the first ten minutes I watch and put in sell limit
orders on the profit side for all of my swing trades. (Most will not get filled,
but if something takes off while I’m doing my futures trading, I don’t want to
miss the profit.)
8:40 am – This is when my morning day trading starts. With sell orders in
place for swings, I can fully concentrate on my indicators and charts. This
morning session can last anywhere from 1 to 2 hours depending on market
action and how well I’m reading the price action, in addition to any work
meetings I may need to attend.