Tim’s Trading Screen Experiment
This past weekend while on a walk and listening to my ipod (as I often do on these cool Arizona evenings) I found myself listening to Tim Ferris’s “The Four Hour Work Week” for about the 5th or 6th time. In the book, Ferris talks about how less is more and how reducing sensory input leads to increased focus.
Over the years after testing out various methods and indicators I have taken away more and more from my screen. I thought I would challenge myself and consolidate my trading screen once again.
This was my most drastic change yet…
My Old Trading Screen
One of my rules has always been if a trade is visible on a 15m chart then it’s a valid trade. The purpose of the experiment is to limit my exposure to inhibiting factors (thing that simply get in the way of me making decisions while trading).
I’ve already cut out all media sources like CNBC, Jim Cramer, and all news programs. The real challenge was the trading screen itself. I’ve had my screen setup across 3 monitors for about 2.5 years now and my eyes became accustomed to the layout. I decided it was time for a change.
From Old to New: Trading Screen Changes
Two Main Charts:
I consolidated my 4 main charts down to two, a 15-min ES and a 15-min 6E. Now when I want to switch between the different time frames like Daily, 15-min, and 512t I just click the Style > Aggregation Type > Tick or Time.
Ditched the 5-min Heikin Ashi:
While I like to confirm my entries on the 6E with a color change on the 5-min Heikin Ashi chart, I found this to be unnecessary in certain instances. As long as I was entering close to the 15-min entry the trade was valid. Thus, she gone!
Shifted the NYSE Tick Chart Over
The one chart that has changed the least is the NYSE Tick chart. I slid it to the bottom right and kept the main settings. I left my market internals on the chart as well. The NYSE Breadth and NYSE Advance/Decline Line Ratios come in handy during the day to see how strong or weak the market really is “under the hood” so to speak.
Here’s my post with the NYSE Tick and Breadth Code.
Additions: Indices and Futures Quotes
Since my goal was to consolidate my charts to one screen I left my top line figures (the S&P500, Dow Jones Industrial Average, NASDAQ, and Russell 2000) quotes on the screen. I also display the VIX (volatility index). Right below that I have the corresponding futures quotes (ES, YM, NQ, and TF).
The Benefits of My New Trading Screen
So far I really like the new trading screen setup. It allows me to focus on the ES and 6E and keeps all my drawings on one chart so I don’t have to redraw them multiple times. This is a benefit when zooming to the smaller time frames especially.
So that’s it. I’m down to two monitors. I upgraded this spring to the HP S2031 20” monitor. They’re fantastic!
Uploading My Workspace
If you’re using Thinkorswim and you’d like to try out my trading screen layout you can simply upload my settings via the following.
Download and unzip the file below and place it in the thinkorswim directory folder C:\Program Files\thinkorswim
On the Thinkorswim login menu select ‘Tim’s-Simple-Chart-Layout’ from the drop down menu.
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