My trading checklist - for consistency

Keep yourself on track with a checklist for every trade and session

Why a checklist?

Any critical process - flying a plane, rail networks, industry, surgery, scuba diving etc. where safety is paramount, uses a form of checklist.

It covers everything that could go wrong, so you’re aware in advance and have it in mind throughout, in short term memory. A bot can’t actually do some of the tasks on here very easily (news/events), and doesn’t need others (emotional state). But a semi auto bot can, using dialogue boxes. I’ll be working towards that, but for now here’s the manual checklist I’ll use, subject to revision:

  1. Mind: tired, agitated, amped, clear? Be honest.
  2. News: Calendar and squawk. Music.
  3. Quality of trades taken today?
  4. Trend or range and direction
  5. Entry: Area retested. Over MA still if trend following.
  6. Entry: Volume low/VSA or strength reversal at area. 2R or more.
  7. Entry: Smaller risk for the no-confirm but retouched entries - check lot size.
  8. Exit: Target next zone, whole number or reversal signals.
  9. Exit: Move to BE at 1:1, focus on not losing here. Exit all/half, trend or range.
  10. Reset: After exit, hands off, re-assess new position, GOTO 1.

It’s this kind of rigour, either encoded in your mind or in a trading assistant bot, that ensures that the bad habits don’t creep back in on tilt days. A few good setups typically make more than dozens of mediocre ones that just about win, breakeven, while adding to stress levels.

I think one of the keys to the gates of tilt-free trading is sleep. If I don’t have enough, anything can happen. I’m erratic and undisciplined, low energy, cognitively broken. I probably lose a quarter of my IQ. So I’m going to ensure I’m well enough rested before each trading day.

Timeframe and pair details, thought process

Just thinking out loud here… M5 gives great, well-measured intraday swings of 10-20 pips consistently, when measured from likely liquidity areas. M1 is really precise and lets you get 5-10 pip scalps around smaller areas, but can be a much more confused picture, with little context unless viewing multiple charts. The M5 cloud MA is also nice for simple confirmations. Although M3 is very similar, M5 gives that nicer overview. And price is price, regardless of timeframe.

5-10 pip stops are my max, depending on size and expected volatility. I’ll be chasing trades less, if market is not super-trending too. Maybe use M1, but only when trending hard. Catch each pullback that way.

So yes, stay on M5, clean signals around easily visible areas.

Then the question of whether or not to keep M15 charts open, or if they are a distraction. There’s only two PA indicators on there, so quick and easy to flick to H1. Could clear away UJ and US30 to focus on EU/GU but I feel like a view of the entire market is more useful (JPY/index/USD/GBP/EUR). This way I can see opposite/negatively correlated moves as confirmation.

Maybe H1 EU and GU is good for that masterview, while UJ and US30 stay on the side for context and potential lower risk trades. Or I could close EU. I’m just feeling a small bit of mental overhead here with 6 charts open, but it’s probably not that bad.

Funny, you buy bigger monitors and then remove all your charts down to a handful of pairs.

Happy to try H1 swings at 0.25% risk, 25 pips SL, 50-100 pips TP, during challenge, so will leave both open - M5, H1 and the UJ/US30 charts. Interest in UJ is because it’s like a reverse Asia session during London session, on UJ. Nice and steady PA. US30 seems to respect levels well, has no commissions and outside of US session is very steady.

M5 and H1 will stop me from chasing reversals in dumb places, which is just the filter I need. M1 can be great for multiple scalps, but not right now. Let’s go for the more secure setups.

And that nearly rounds up my preparations for the second run at this prop challenge. Hopefully I can get it done in under 50 trades, over 2 weeks. Preferably London session only!

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