A Trading Journal Is An Essential Part
Of Becoming A Successful Trader
What Is A Trading Journal?
In very simplistic terms, a trading journal is a place where you include EVERY trade you make and everything about that trade. Please don't underestimate the benefits of keeping a trading journal. If you keep your Trading Journal correctly, you will learn more from it than anything else you do. It's the best teacher you will ever find.
I started keeping a trading journal around 2002. Before that time I would take a screenshot of a chart, print it out, and put it into a three-ring binder with tab dividers for each month. Then every year I would start a new binder.
I would keep the following for each trade.
I would write down the date the trade was placed.
Why I placed it.
How much I made or lost on the trade.
Every time I moved a stop or anything else I would enter that in the journal too.
Today, that sounds so minimalistic, so "old school". I often wonder what traders did before computers and screenshots.
While this was better than doing nothing, it wasn't anywhere close to what I really needed. What if I only wanted to look at only Futures trades or Option Trades placed in the last 3 months, or where I took a bullish position and made money on the trade? That would take a lot of time. To make it worse, what if I wanted to analyze win/loss ratios or maybe just look at Futures trades in precious metals.
Someone who is extremely proficient in Excel could build a journal that could do most, but certainly not all, of this analysis but it wouldn't be easy to make and it would certainly be clunky, to say the least. If you are like me, this would be out of the question. A programmer might be able to write the code needed to make one but it could take a year or so. The only code I know, or I should say knew, is Morris Code that I learn in Boy Scouts over 50 years ago.
How Much Does A Trading Journal Cost?
There are trading journals all over the Internet for sale. Some are only $10.00 (a simplistic spreadsheet) and some cost over $100.00 a month, that's $1,200.00 a year, every year! Some are paper journals in a bookbinder that you have to buy again and again, some are actual applications that a programmer developed and some are extremely complex Excel spreadsheets that are locked and can't even be customized. Each one has its own pros and cons.
My Quest To Find The Perfect Trading Journal
I love a good challenge and sometimes go out of my way to find one. I spent several years trying various applications to create the "perfect" trading journal. Well, it doesn't exist! I've tried Excel, Trello, Evernote, To-Doist, Tick-Tick, and a bunch of other ones.
Finally, quite by accident, I came across one of the newer applications called Notion. They call it "An all in one workspace." I was looking at it for another purpose other than a trading journal at the time. After working with Notion and paying almost $300.00 for a course on how to use it (money well spent) I began to see great possibilities for using it as a trading journal. I spent a few weeks creating one. While it's not everything I want it's certainly a 4.5 out of 5.00 stars and that says a lot. Plus I keep tweaking it to make it better.
My Trading Journal Keeps Up With Everything I Need
1. Which market did I trade; Grains, Meats, Precious Metals, etc.
2. Date I entered, exited, or canceled the trade.
3. Screenshot of the actual chart with the order showing my entry price, stops, limit orders, option premium(s) and more. I can make unlimited, time and date stamped, notes. I can also add as many different charts as I want to and I also. I can also make an audio file where I talk about what I was thinking when I placed the trade and insert that into the Journal.
4. Was it a futures or options trade or both?
5. Was the order filled or canceled and the date if it was filled.
6. Risk, Reward, Profit, or Loss on the position.
7. Running YTD bottom line of profits and losses.
8. I can filter the results for anything, and in any order. Winning trades, losing trades, only Futures or Options trades, or both. I can also sort to see just currencies, financials, or grains. The is almost no limit to the way that I can look at my trades and it only takes a couple of seconds to change views. It's amazing how well this works.
You can see the image below to see some of the different views in this trading journal also.
Watch The Video Below How Easy It Is To Switch Views In The Trading Journal
In the short video below you can see how I switch different views in the Trading Journal. You can easily switch between the Everything view which of course will show you every trade in the journal including being able to look at a Calendar view. Maybe you just want a view of Winning or Losing Trades, Futures Positions, Options,
View anything you want to see; Currencies, Energies, or anything else in your Journal. You can switch between views in seconds. I've created about 20 different views as you will see.
Click on the video to expand it.
It's Completly Customizable With A Few Simple Clicks
This Trading Journal is very easy to customize any way you want. If you wanted to see ONLY Bearish trades that made money or lost money it's easy. I'll show you how to create a View called Profitable Bearish trades. All I have to do is create a filter that shows the Directional Bias as Bearish and the Dollars Made or Lost to >1. Takes less than a minute as I showed you in the above video.
**It's Easy To Enter A New Trade And See It In Multiple Views**
There's More Journals - Kind Of Crazy Not To Include These!
I don't know if you are using Seasonal trades or not but you should be! Did you know that Gecko Software has an application called Trade Miner that will look at the seasonal history of trades each month and tell you which ones have the highest probability of making money that month? You set the perimeters, which markets to analyze, how many years of history and win rates along with drawdowns that the trade incurred during that time.
I only use it for commodities but they also have a stock and Forex version also. You can order your own copy of Trade Miner HERE (my affiliate link) so you can get all the Seasonal Trades to add to your Journal.
I only pick markets that I like to trade, that have at least a 10-year history of winning 80% or more of the time. I pick trades that last at least 10 days but not more than 20 and I get 15 or 20 to choose from every month. Then it even rates them from 1 to 5, being the best trade, and even tells you if it has a high, medium, or low probability of winning.
You know what I've done but I'm going to tell you anyway. I have a Seasonal Journal and it links up with your Trading Journal. You can stop smiling now!
Click to Enlarge the Videos(s) below. There is no audio in these videos.