What’s it like in your trading room?

Would I feel a crackle of static electricity in the air, hear the background hum from your bank of server computers, and be dazzled by the glare from your hulking wall of trading screens…?

Or do you take care of business in a more modest way?

A single monitor, maybe? With a carefully designed workspace that tells you all you need to know at a single glance?

Is your room a minimalist centre of Zen-like calm, or a cosy den with trading books and old ideas scratched out on papers strewn across the floor?

Designer glass desk with chrome chair, or a mishmash of furniture acquired over the years (like mine)?

As always when it comes to trading, there’s no single ‘best way’. The important thing is to go with whatever works best for you.

But the working environment you create is one element of your trading business you really are in total control of. And this level of control is a bit of a rarity…

In our business we deal in uncertainties. We often talk about putting probabilities to work for us, searching for a profitable edge, and being prepared to ride the tide when the markets conspire against us.

So when you do have the opportunity to optimise and control something as influential as the space you spend your time in whilst trading, why settle for anything less than perfect?

That’s perfect as far as your own requirements go of course!

So what does your trading rig look like?

I thought we could get to know each other a bit better (and maybe pass on a few helpful tips to other traders at the same time) because today, I’m starting off the TN trading room gallery…

And I’d love for you to share a picture of your own trading space. Just post a comment on the TN Facebook page here and include a photo (doesn’t have to be fancy – a quick snap taken on your phone will be fine) and a few comments about the trading tools you just couldn’t do without.

So let’s kick off with a look at mine:

And as you can see, we’re dealing with no Canary Wharf style trading room here! A nice big wooden desk gives me lots of space to spread my stuff around (I did tidy up a bit for the photo!) and it holds all the essential tools of the trade.

Here’s what I couldn’t be without:

(1) PC for technical analysis – Nothing too fancy… a Windows PC with a single monitor lets me keep an eye on the markets I’m following. Most of my analysis is done end-of-day and I’ll follow four or five markets on the screen. I run eSignal for my charts.

I do quite fancy one of the big 28″ Macs but it means installing special Windows emulating software (complete with potential hassles) to get eSignal to run properly. I’ll also pull up a Ninjatrader price ladder on the right hand side of this screen if I’m closely watching a particular market and timing a scalp-style entry.

(2) Macbook – I tend to use this for placing ‘normal’ longer-term orders. It’s always kept topped up with battery life in case of emergencies. This way, if the electricity goes off, or my WIFI router fails, I can always get an instant 3G connection through my iPhone or iPad and manage open trades accordingly (both devices have personal hotspots pre-configured and ready to roll).

Trust me, if it hasn’t happened to you yet, you’ll experience a connection issue at some point, typically at the worst possible moment too! Always pays to have a reserve connection you can fall back on.

(3) Tea – And lots of it! But seriously, make sure you have easy access to your preferred refreshments, especially if you’re a very active trader. Don’t risk giving up your focus because you’re dying for a coffee or your stomach is rumbling away with hunger. Keep well hydrated and have a few healthy snacks close to hand.

Notice how different foods make you feel too. Some can give you a quick pep-up and a sense of clarity; some can make you feel sleepy and lethargic. Choose wisely while you’re trading!

(4) Background music – Here’s another simple way of getting yourself in the best frame of mind for trading. I find I can take completely different styles of music on different days and consciously tweak my mental performance. Sometimes it’ll take classical music to calm and sooth an agitated mind; sometimes it needs loud, pumping house music to get the good juices flowing!

I’ll talk more about music in a future eletter – it has been scientifically proven to alter the frequency of brain waves and affect mental and physical performance.

(5) Fancy ergonomic chair – It wasn’t cheap, but it was certainly money well invested. I spent more months than I care to remember suffering with a stiff neck and shoulders from being hunched tense over a trading screen.

You can’t put a price on your health, so if you do spend a lot of time at the screen, make sure you keep a good seated posture (all helps keep the blood flowing to those brain cells too!). Well-designed ergonomic chairs can help – the one in the photo is an Aeron – or you might even prefer a standing desk.

(6) Daylight / fresh air – I’ve got a set of French doors behind the desk that open onto the garden. After spending a good few years in a windowless, strip-light lit office, I really couldn’t do without the natural light these days.

It’s lovely to be able to open the doors up on a sunny day and enjoy the sounds and smells from the garden. There is a downside though… the risk of an impromptu appearance through the doors of a small child on a bicycle or a miskicked football!

(7) Knick-knacks – Pens, pencils, a journal, a wad of scrap paper, a digital timer (for economic announcement alerts), a calculator… these are all the everyday items I need within fingertip reach at all times. There’s nothing worse than having to go searching for something you need when you’re in-the-moment with your trading or technical analysis.

So let’s have a look at your own centre of operations…

Go to the Trader’s Nest Facebook page here and post a new comment. Give us a short rundown of the items essential to your own trading routine and take a quick picture on your phone so we can see what it all looks like.

Extra points go to those with really unusual trading rigs!

O.k..now for something completely different…

How would you like to become an official Trader’s Nest product reviewer?

If you’d like to get your hands on ‘evaluation copies’ of trading strategies and VIP access to trading software, I’m sure you’ll be interested in this…

I want to build a Trader’s Nest review team that’ll put a wide range of commercially available systems, strategies, products, and services through their paces.

And who better to form the team than valued TN members… That means YOU!

You’ll be given a copy of the trading product: you simply need to use it and write an honest review that’ll be posted on the website.

I’m looking for traders of all abilities – it’s important we get valid feedback from beginners and experienced traders alike – and don’t worry about being a brilliant writer; it’s your willingness to use the product and give an opinion that matters most!

We’re ready to review all trading products and it doesn’t matter who publishes or sells it, so if there’s a particular system you always fancied trying out, now’s your chance.

If you want to be considered for the review team, here’s what to do:

Simply answer these three questions:

a) Why do you think you’d make a good Trader’s Nest reviewer? Let me know the qualities you have to offer and also the level of trading experience your reviews will reflect.

b) List three trading systems, products, or services you’d like to review first

c) Let me know one trading system, product, or service you’re already familiar with (or have access to) and will be able to write a short review about.

Send your answers by email to rich@tradersnest.com typing ‘TN Reviewer’ as your subject line. I’ll review all applications and keep you updated on progress.

Be Prepared: Market Moving Data Coming This Week (London Time)

Wednesday 4th March:
09:30    GBP    Services PMI
13:15    USD    Nonfarm employment change
15:00    USD    ISM

Thursday 5th March:
12:00    GBP    Interest Rate Decision
12:45    EUR    Interest Rate Decision
13:30    EUR    ECB Press conference

Friday 6th March:
13:30    USD    Employment numbers

Monday 9th March:
– No big reports

Tuesday 10th March:
– No big reports

Watch out for those US job numbers on Friday, and I’ll catch up with you again very soon.

Good trading!

P.S. Don’t forget today’s two quick tasks:

1) Show us a pic of your own trading rig on the TN Facebook page here.

2) Send me an email (rich@tradersnest.com) to get on the Trader’s Nest review team!

P.P.S. Keep right up to date with me on a daily basis on the Trader’s Nest Facebook page. Just click the ‘Like’ button and I’ll send you timely news (and the odd amusing story!) from the world of trading.