UPDATE (Nov. 13, 2022): This is one of my older posts and since I wrote this, I've found much better trading journal solutions. You can see my current recommendations here.
So an Evernote trading journal isn't working for you?
Pen and paper not doing it either?
Well in trading, there is usually more than one way to skin a pip.
You just have to be open to new ideas.
If you have been having trouble finding a good journaling solution, then this blog post might be just what you have been looking for.
Journaling is a vital part of successful trading. You cannot expect to get better if you do not know what you are doing wrong.
It's the reason why NFL players watch game tape. It's why 11-time world surfing champion Kelly Slater reviewed all of his contest results, when he wasn't winning.
Did you know that Trello can also be used as a free Forex trading journal?
This is a great video on how to do it, by my friend Omar. I met him at the Truth About FX Conference in London.
You can learn from him and other friendly traders inside the Naked Forex Now forum.
If you prefer the text version, it is provided below the video.
…and he shows you a cool way to add Loom into the mix too.
How to Create a Trading Journal with Trello
Let's start with Trello.
It's a tool that is popular with development teams, but it can also be a great way to organize your trading journal.
The first step is to sign up for a free account at Trello.
Once you are in, create a new board.
Call it “Trading Journal” or if you can think of something more creative, feel free to have at it.
Click on the Create button and you are ready to start journaling your trades.
Now that you have a brand spanking new board, it's time to decide how you will organize your journal.
There are a ton of ways that you can customize your trading log, but here are a few tips.
It will usually help to create a new board for every year, like Omar does in the video.
This is true, even if you are a longer-term trader or a short-term trader.
This is a good set of lists that you can start with:
- Performance by month
- Open positions
- Pending orders
- Watch list
- Closed trades by month
- Discarded trades
Experiment with different configurations and figure out what works best for you.
The cool thing about Trello is that you can create a “card” for every trade idea.
Then you can move that card through the the entire workflow process and document it's progress at every step along the way.
You would move an idea that actually becomes a trade, like this:
- Watch List
- Pending order
- Open positions
- Closed trades
If a trade idea did not materialize into an actual trade, then you would simply move the trade from the Watch List to the Discarded Trades board.
This is very useful because you can see which trades would have worked out and which trades were a bust.
When you look back on these discarded trades, you can start to fine tune your ability to spot great trading setups.
Now that you understand the overview, let's take a look at how this would actually work.
You would start by creating a new card in the Watch List list.
For the title, I would recommend starting with the date, then the currency pair.
If you want to include the setup, that could help you identify the trade too.
Then write in some notes and the timeframe that you are looking at.
Every time you move the card to a new board, you will add a comment to the card. It might look something like this.
Obviously, you would probably want to be more detailed that I was in the picture above.
But that was just for demonstration. 🙂
Custom Background Picture
Oh, and if you want to create a custom background, like in the video, then go to Show More in the upper right corner of the screen.
Then click on Change Background and you can choose a new photo or a solid color.
If you want a cool picture for your background, then Pexels or Unsplash are great places to get free photos.
How to Document Your Trades with Loom
Alrighty…now that you understand how to use Trello, Loom is a great way to create screenshots and video notes.
Why do you need video notes?
Well, you don't absolutely need video notes.
However, videos do give you one very important piece of information that you cannot get from written trading journal notes.
…how you were feeling at the time you entered the trade.
You might write that you were feeling good about the trade. But your voice might say something different.
I can see that you are still skeptical.
Well then, do this…
Install this simple plugin in Chrome, then video journal three trades.
Just three trades.
Then go back to those videos a week later and see how valuable you think they are. If they work for you, then great!
Keep doing it.
If not, then stick to the text journal.
It's all about finding what works for you.
How to be Sure That You Actually Maintain a Trading Journal
Now that you know how to use Trello and Loom to maintain a trading journal, that's the easy part.
The hard part is actually doing it.
These three tips will help. But the bottom line is that you need to make the process as simple as possible.
So start small.
For certain personality types, there can be a tendency to be too detailed, when writing entries in a journal.
Then they never get started because they want everything to be perfect.
If you are like that, then just start by writing down a few notes after the trade has closed.
If you are on the opposite end of the spectrum and aren't detailed enough, but usually just get started right away, then you can probably start by journaling the trade through the entire process.
Keep each comment short and go from there.
If you have a lot of trades a week, start by journaling just one trade a week.
A trading journal is key element of successful trading, but not enough traders do it properly.
Once you can go back and review what you are doing wrong and what you are doing right, I think you will find that your trading will start to progress much faster.
One reason for not journaling is that we don't want to face our mistakes.
It can be painful to admit to ourselves that we are not good traders. It can be painful to think that we lost money.
With all the great free tools out there, like Evernote and Trello, you have no excuses.
So get started now.
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