In addition to using something similar to the spreadsheets that are presented further below, I recommend that you maintain a Trading Notes Log (daily/weekly/monthly) to record your current thoughts and observations. This entire blog is my personal Trading Log , a Blog-Log if you will.
Besides scanning countless stock charts, reading market news and of course day trading, everything described on this page is faithfully, habitually adhered to...Everything is done so that I can review
"where I was" and focus intelligently on planning "where I want to be"
I firmly believe in keeping statistics of my trading. IMO, over the long haul, trading is all about the numbers. Keeping and analyzing statistics of things like; your frequency of trades, the percentage of winning vs losing trades, average gain on winners vs average loss on losers are just some of the necessary ingredients for understanding whether or not your methodologies are working.
Although these things are reflected on every brokerage statement you receive, statements basically
report just your account's net gain or loss which is useful only after a significant period of time.
By the time your accumulated statements can tell you something may be amiss with your trading
you could be well on your way to going broke.
I am very serious about the need to keep accurate records.
In order to profit, whether you are long or short term oriented, you must win more money on the winning trades or investments than on the losers. This may seem like such an obvious statement that it should be the only thing that matters. I've come to understand that there exists a myriad of other factors that contribute to those who are successful in this endeavor.
Attempting to learn from mentors, from reading "How I Did It" books (this blog included)
or any other way only begins to enlighten an aspiring trader.
Perhaps you've read the books that describe Win/Loss ratios where the idea is suggested that most successful traders pick winning trades 7 out of 10 times or perhaps 6 out of 10 times. I've read that there are successful traders who consistently win only 4 of 10 trades. Other traders have been successful winning with only a 30% win percentage...Although it is statistically possible to gain account equity with low percentages. it must be very stressful on the low percentage trader, especially after a string of losing trades.
You have to be aware that even if you have a strategy that produces a good winning trade percentage, you still must gain more on the winners than you lose on the losers to come out ahead... not only to cover commissions but to cover all the other day-to-day operating expenses a trader incurs.
My statistics indicate that over the long term including thousands of trades, a winning trade percentage of 54% to 59% is about my average range per month. In the long term, if my winning trade percentage averages in the low 50% range, in order to continue in this line of work and be profitable, I must maintain a $Won/$Lost ratio of at least 2 1/2 to 1...that is, a ratio 2 to 3 ticks won for every 1 tick lost. I need to maintain a positive $Won/$Lost ratio and keep my winning trade percentage above 50.
Ideally you want one winning trade to capture more $$$ than it takes to cover the losses from two losing trades. Then all you need to do is get your winning trade percentage to rise...If 75% or 90% of your trades are winners then you can probably just look at your account balance once in a while to tell if you are successful.
Otherwise, you need to keep track of your trading by constantly monitoring all the numbers.
The following are snapshots of a single spreadsheet combining five workbooks that I've developed
The spreadsheet for keeping Equities and ETFs statistics is different and can be viewed via this link.
I track Daily (workbook 1) and Monthly (workbook 2) trading activity to gather and compare my statistics over time. I created a Projection Sheet (workbook 3) that is used to extrapolate potential results using the numbers compiled in the first two sheets. Of course you can't forget uncle Sam so a Schedule D tax form (workbook 4) is included. And finally a combined Per-Contract and NET Amounts (workbook 5) completes the set.
The formulas for all the cells are included should you wish to create your own. The next five workbooks are part of a single spreadsheet and were created using freeware Apache software (download link at the bottom of this page) . I'm sure other vender's software will allow you to do the same thing.
Note: I have made some changes to my spreadsheets since uploading the following pictures to this blog, back in 2013... Click this link for a snapshot of my current 2017 Daily Win-Loss Workbook.
1) Daily Win-Loss Workbook (Trade Log) - Futures
This is the main workbook - it gets filled out daily.
An advantage to creating a single spreadsheet with multiple workbooks is the ability to "link" data from one workbook to another. I've designed this spreadsheet so that only the cells in columns 'A' through 'G' need to be filled out - columns ' I ' through 'O' on this workbook are automatically updated, as are any "linked" cells in the other workbooks.
All cells are "linked" so they automatically update when filling in the Daily Win-Loss workbook.
Used to see where I've been and where I can improve. Changing the values in the yellow cells produces
the results in the blue cells (the cell formulas are included on the picture).
(5) Additional Simple Workbook
This one is used to get an idea of what to expect when 1) changing the market traded...2) changing the bracket order levels used...and/or 3) changing the number of contracts traded...
The top picture has the same numbers inserted for the 4 markets that I trade.
The bottom one shows differing numbers inserted in the Stop-Loss, Target and contracts cells.
05/25/2015... I updated the workbook above to include how NET dollar amounts are affected by Win/Loss percentages, by bracket settings and by the number of contracts traded.
You can also see the big role that commissions play on your bottom line.
Another look at the Projection Sheet
Other Tools and recommendations:
All my daily trade chart pictures are available for viewing on Sharpshorts Daily Trade Results ...
I capture a picture of every trade I make (it takes less than a second*) as well as those of other charts that I find interesting or important. At the end of the day they are reviewed, renamed and filed by date (see the picture below)
All of this is simple to do and takes an inconsequential amount of time to accomplish.
In addition to the benefits mentioned above I have further reasons for doing this:
1) capture a chart image, 2) name it, 3) save to file instantly
using just a single click of the mouse.
It is similar to Microsoft's Snipping Tool or PrintScreen-copy-to-clipboard but you need not contend with filling out the properties windows each time you elect to take a picture. All of the pictures on this blog were captured with Gadwin PrintScreen.
The Gadwin program can be set up to save, date and number your screenshots to any folder you designate or create. You can have Gadwin re-size any snapshot taken and choose to have it's aspect ratio kept. It can be quickly reconfigured to take snapshots of just the window that's in focus, of any client window (including an entire array of multiple monitors), of the full screen (an individual monitor) or of a drag-able rectangular area.
(... add'l link to Gadwin Properties set-up...)
all the stuff that's on an entire monitor. I also use M/S's Snipping tool
for capturing any sized rectangular area, of anything I can see on any of my monitors.
Freeware Office Programs
The Apache download site offers an alternative to Microsoft's Excel spreadsheet and Word programs - - FREE
I had been using Microsoft's suite of office programs since at least 2001. Recently I built a new computer and wanted to have the same set of programs on the new machine that I had been using on the old one. Rather than spending the $100 plus to purchase a new license from Microsoft, I downloaded Apache's Open Office program and transferred all my existing Word documents and Excel spreadsheets to it. Can't beat the price and I have found nothing lacking with Apache's product.
Start a blog as your personalized trading log
They are free, are easy to set up and simple to edit.
Everything that I have posted on this blog could also be done using a word processing program...but keeping a blog on Google's cloud offers a lot of benefits over storing all your stuff on your own machine.
Maintaining a blog is a terrific way to consolidate your trading records and thoughts in one place - it makes you "place your ideas down on paper" which reinforces them the the mind's eye, i.e. the subconscious. You learn to write in a manor that is coherent and concise. These things are important tools for developing reasonable analyzation skills and for coming to important conclusions about your trading skills.