When you’re just starting out as a retail trader, your trading desk can consist of nothing more than your mobile phone, an app and a very comfy sofa. However, as your skills develop, the number of trades you’re making goes up and the amount of markets your trading on steadily increases then a dedicated domestic space can help put you in the right frame of mind and help you make the right decisions. Here we give you some hacks on how to create the perfect stock trading sanctuary right inside your own home.

Additional Monitor(s)

Ok, so the first upgrade from your smart phone will be to a classic laptop, Mac or PC. It doesn’t matter if the phone in your pocket is so big that it’s almost in tablet territory, by moving to a standard computer set-up you will instantly notice the benefits in screen size and display options. We’ve asked our own traders what they prefer and they tend to average around 5 or 6 monitors but baby steps; all in due time.

The principle benefit of using two screens is a substantial increase in productivity and focus. Many studies have shown that the time it takes on average to complete tasks is significantly shorter when operating across dual monitors. Imagine the time it takes to close and open one chart or window for another; think about how many times you do that process during the average trading session and those seconds soon add up to some serious time-saving over a few months (not to mention much less chance of developing RSI in your mouse finger or wrist).

Ergonomic Mouse and/or Wrist Support

Just like reducing the number of clicks, a well-designed mouse and good wrist support will go a long way to reducing the risk of injury and discomfort to your hands. This is especially important for those trading around holding down a full-time office job as you are essentially making your meat-hooks work overtime and it is very important that they are looked after.

To make matters worse, inflamed tendons will hurt the most in the mornings, exactly the time when there are the most profits to be made for day traders taking advantage of the increased volume and volatility of the markets.

Noise Cancelling Headphones (And Your Favourite Tunes)

You might not want to wear them all the time but when needed you’ll be thankful that you have them to hand. This tip isn’t just for you traders with children but is especially useful for when your neighbours are refitting their kitchen, the water company are tearing up your street or that police helicopter has been hovering above your house for the last half hour. Unwanted noise isn’t just annoying; it’s bad for your health and will take your focus away from trading rationally.

Unwelcome noise wears you down and decreases your body’s production of dopamine, the feel-good chemical; this hormonal change has a big negative effect on the prefrontal cortex (executive functioning) and will prevent your brain from analyzing data and solving problems correctly. Unexpected, loud noises trigger your brain’s amygdala (emotional processing) and send distress signals to your hypothalamus (causing adrenaline and cortisol to be pumped into the bloodstream). This flush of chemicals is known as the Fight or Flight response and was originally intended to help you fight off or run away from sabre toothed tigers. You don’t want to be making trades as if your life depends on it.

Instead block out your outside annoyances and play your favourite music (golden oldies only – new music has been proven to divert a lot of your attention away from your trades). Listening to your most loved songs whilst trading will flood your body with dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine; all scientifically proven to relax you, give you a boost in productivity, help you make fewer mistakes and increase your memory function.

Welcome To The Jungle – Adding Indoor Plants (or even just pictures of nature!)

It may seem like a superficial difference but the addition of a little bit of mother nature to your trading desk can have some unexpected results. Attention Restoration Theory makes the assertion that looking at plant life or even just pictures/screensavers of nature can put your brain into a different processing mode, making you feel more relaxed and better able to concentrate on your trades.

Additionally, university studies have found that indoor plants can help reduce carbon dioxide levels by about 25% in buildings without air conditioning. It doesn’t matter where you are or what you’re doing – breathing is important! If you’re not blessed with a green thumb then succulents, cacti and peace lilies are all but impossible to kill but if your trading desk looks out onto your garden or even just a few trees then be sure to keep those blinds and curtains wide open.

Learn To Trade For Yourself

Now you’ve improved your trading desk, why not fine-tune your trading skills. We have courses available to suit absolute beginners all the way up to practiced retail traders who are looking to improve the consistency of their trading returns through one-to-one mentorship with one of our experienced training coaches. If you’re completely new to the world of trading, why not sign up for our Learn To Trade Online 2-day introductory course – it’s completely free and a great way to get to know the basics!

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