Buying Back Your Time
I had a question the other day from a member about balancing time between trading v. investing.
How do you balance the intraday with longer term investing ? Or how would you say you spend/allocate your time? Obviously your bigger now but when you were early grinding years? How has that mix changed from where it was to now?
I was going to wait to answer this but I met up with a long-time friend from Vancouver (where the original Lanshark was back in the day - a great era in time, he’s in the blue shirt/corvette) who was in town.
We got to talking about his new venture in the energy space, our lives, and what 2024 would hold.
The topic of time came up and we got to talking about why leveraging time was the main goal at this point in our lives.
For me, I want the big deals/big trades now and that’s different from when I first started in this business over 14 years ago.
So what better chance to answer that question above and talk about buying back your time in this post?
Buy Back Your Time: Trading/Intraday
Time is an asset, the most valuable one we have.
When I was in my twenties it was spent grinding out non-stop in the markets, specifically, the futures markets.
There was one goal then: to build capital/bankroll and be done with that grind.
Today, that’s changed.
I’ve bought back my time and I do that same thing with delegation to other companies (which took me a while to learn to do).
Here is how I buy it back with intraday trading and balance that time.
Rule One: If it’s not a big (50+ point rally/sell-off in S&P) move I don’t care. It’s not a good allocation of time to sit there all day and grind out scalps. Back then I would try to catch each move because I had to.
Rule Two: Focus on 2-3 quality options ideas a week. Ditch the daily watchlist bullshit. They’re for degenerates and people addicted to feeling the need to do something to fill the void. If I can make 2 big trades a week, where I size them right, I buy back my time.
Rule Three: The first 2 hours are important to me and so are the last 1.5. Also, Wednesday into Friday is more important than Monday/Tuesday - so my focus hones in on those days.
Anyone of you reading this can instantly buy back your time if you get out of this ‘day trader lifestyle’ mindset that has been pitched.
Sitting in a discord room all day on a mic talking nonsense or posting pointless charts isn’t making money: it’s wasting time.
In DeltaOne, we limit it to a 30-minute brief on Monday mornings and 2 quick-trade rooms a week - the rest is a waste of time.
Buy Back Your Time: Investing & Research
The fastest way to do this is to buy my research 😎 - half joking but serious to some extent.
Most of what I want to do today is look at longer-term (3-18 months) investments and I would rather spend my time doing that.
We legitimately talked about this over cigars last night - about what I do now v. what I was doing 6 years ago and it is a 180.
Here is how I buy it back with research/investing
Rule One: Have a framework. I don’t scan for stocks/52-week breakouts - I follow central bank policy as a driver for all asset classes. So if I can pay attention to that I’m already saving time from aimlessly looking at stocks.
Rule Two: I track event-driven changes all the time and then dive deeper if there is something worth diving deeper. This takes a while, but there are resources I pay for to aggregate the data for me.
Rule Three: Risk models. Most people never once take the time to codify what their risk models are - really. They spend more time back-testing indicators and setups than they do on deciding what risk goes where in a portfolio. In the hedge fund, we have a model of risk.
Max position size on any one position
Sector hard caps (meaning I can’t go buy 50% of the portfolio in tech stocks)
Leverage rules etc.
All that is done ahead of time so that when it comes time to execution there’s not a game of “how much should I invest”.
Finally, without a framework or goals then this part becomes harder - I know what I am after and what I am looking for so it eliminates useless time suck.
Think of all of this like a Formula One team: every second matters and a second wasted creates a disadvantage for not just that race but the entire season.
If I can eliminate useless steps, eliminate time wasted, and then delegate things that have high output and low return then that decreases time-to-action.
Most people, in my view, wait until the last minute to research something, work their charts up for the week ahead, or put together a risk model.
I try not to do any of that last minute.
All of that gets done, the report gets created and research is looked at over the weekend.
That helps me during the week to know if I should be focused on catching a big Crude or S&P move so at least I know that I need to allocate “this day or this amount of time” this week to looking for that scenario to play out.
Then when it comes to swing trades, they require no front-end time, just back-end research time - for you guys that subscribe to those it makes your time-to-action advantage minimal.
Let’s finish with this…
The one thing you can do in trading or business is to write down the tasks you do.
From an operations standpoint (business or your time for investing) try this with your time task:
If they were time-consuming with low output then remove or delegate that task.
If they were not time-consuming but high output then focus on that more.
From an actual trading perspective, just look at what trades you made and see which ones made the most difference. What did they all have in common? Figure that out, and focus on those.
That alone will free up your time and likely increase your revenue/P&L.
Thanks for reading.
📘 Want more of this? Read Portfolio Management - velocity of money.
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