3 Things Every Serious Day Trader Should Do in the Morning

by | Oct 13, 2015

One of the things that draws people to day trading is the fact that you can do it on your own time from anywhere in the world. You don't have a boss, and the only person you have to report to is yourself. All you need is a computer, the right trading tools, and a healthy mind state. This is definitely one of the greatest parts about day trading, however you still need to make sure you take a structured approach if you want to do well in the long run. It's easy to get carried away and treat day trading as more of a hobby than a job. I always find that approaching day trading as a job keeps me more focused and profitable over time. This doesn't mean you can't have fun with trading - it simply means you are taking your success seriously.

Here are a few of the things we do in order to treat day trading like a real job.

Daytrader Morning Routine

Wake Up Early

Nobody loves waking up early, but if you're serious about becoming a successful day trader, waking up early is necessary. When you take on the life of a day trader, your job starts at 9:30AM EST and you need to be prepared. Just like any other job, you shouldn't roll out of bed 10 minutes before work, clock in, and then get ready to start working. You need to be prepared much earlier. Give yourself time to wake up and time to research what is going on in the market. Are there any new press releases that will affect your game plan for the day? Is there any other market news you should be aware of? How has everything been trading pre-market? The more information you have, the better. You can never be too prepared, however you can always be under-prepared if you don't do the proper research.

Morning Routine + Dress for the Job

As mentioned earlier, one of the benefits of day trading is that it gives you more flexibility than a real job. That being said, there's a reason why certain jobs require their employees to come to work looking sharp and energized. Dressing for the role can actually change your mindset. I discuss this concept in Textbook Trading. Wake up every morning and treat day trading like a real job. If you wouldn't roll out of bed and go to a 9-to-5  job half awake, why would you do this for day trading? Now, obviously you will have more flexibility, so if you truly hate dressing nicely, you don't have to. The point here is not that wearing a suit will make you a better trader. It's that your physical appearance should reflect your mind state: sharp and well prepared.

Take a shower, dress nicely, drink your coffee - whatever you need to do to come to the market ready to make some money!

Treat Day Trading Like a Real Job

Get Prepared & Organized

Getting organized is a huge part of trading. You'll hear me repeat the mantra "come to the market prepared" again and again for good reason.

Of course, your preparation can start the night before as you scan for stocks and begin to formulate your game plan, however the morning will give you time to make the necessary adjustments. You can analyze pre-market activity, read press releases, and modify your game plan. Every night I send out a scan with a lot of stocks, but we always thin down that list after analyzing pre-market trading data. This gives us the best shot of finding high probability plays. You will also want to use this time to make sure you have locates for a stock that's in play. You could have a perfect game plan and spend all day waiting for the perfect moment to pounce on a short, but if you can't find shares to short, you will be out of luck.

What do you do to get ready for the market?

You've read a few of the ways I get prepared for trading. I'm interested in hearing what everyone else does to get ready. Feel free to leave a comment below sharing your routine!

How Do Day Traders Prepare?


  1. I wake up get dress head to work and run my premarket scanner. I then bring up my scan that I did the night before and see if anything that I'm looking at is already moving and if so in which direction. the closer the markets gets to opening I narrow my search down to 2 stocks that are setting up for a trade.

    • Where can I get a pre market scanner

      • Where can I get a pre scan of stocks thanks

      • thinkorswim TD Ameritrade Desktop


  2. Wake up, shower/shave, open DAS pro and check Top List for gappers, especially small cap biotechs w/ low float that are up high % on fluff PR. Check daily chart for key areas of support/resistance to determine entries, make sure broker has borrows...

  3. I read news first - look at economic and market related news - how all markets traded. The night before I have done market scans to see what closed on the highs and the bottom.
    Look at Credit spreads and how corporate bonds traded - this generally has a direct influence on Equity markets. Also I look at the Asian markets to see how they have traded.

    This gives me an idea whether Equity markets are bullish or bearish overall. Also i like to look at Twitter for anything interesting. I subscribe to Tradethenews - and have all my stocks that I trade in a portfolio which shows every news item for those stocks - ie broker reports, funding, new issuances, guidances etc.

  4. I wake up to go to the gym at 4:00 am and that gives me the energy to scan through my watchlists and listen to som conference calls.

  5. I trade from eastern Australia, so I start at about 10 pm local time to view the IU and Profit.ly and now also Kroyrunner watch lists. I then have 1.5 hours to check the daily and 1 minute charts and to read the chat room happenings etc. Then I look for a trade when the market opens, which is 11.30 pm local time and I watch and learn until about 1.30 am and / or make a trade. So far I have not been successful, despite all the opportunities, so I think I still have a lot to learn. I need to be at work at 8 am the next morning, so in order to get enough sleep, I have a nap from about 8.30 to 10 pm. About once or twice a week I am on call at night, so then I dare not take a trade,
    I know the last hour of the trading day is good, but then I find I am too tired, as that only gives me 3.5 hours of sleep. Still fine tuning what is working best for me.
    I spend spare time watching and taking notes from video lessons.

    • Hi George, how long have you been trading? Did you study IUs DVDs or are you just following several watchlists?

      • Hi Mauricio, I have studied IUs Tandem Trader DVDs and also Profit.ly DVDs

        • Hello George trying to get started my any good pointers you can give me

      • I follow the Stocks to Trade watch list from Tim Sykes and the IU watch list. I started in April this year.

    • Hi George, where do you read the kroyrunner whachlists? Thanks

    • George, I am a "new" trader, mostly swing trades, doing pretty well over the last two months... today sold 5 Rs two stocks BB, GE

      Can you expand on your comment about the "last hour of the trading day is good"... get some rest... thank you!

  6. I have a full-time job at the moment.. Soo.. I run Finviz gap scanner at night go through the list marking up charts setting alerts, check catalysts. Spend about 4+ hrs. after work just going over previous day movers charts..and watching educational vids. learning more swing stuff for during work too()(chat w/traders)also I journal my emotions and trades from that day. Check T.Gritanni's and Emil's Watches,Twitter(Nate,ModernRock,Kunal). Though i cant short now I like to know what they're shorting...In the morning before leaving for work while getting ready, I run scan again check general market movement. I like Yahoo In-play briefing for news checks in morning, looking for low floats w/Cat's...I sync my watchlist on RH,TOS platform and Stocktwits. since I can only phone trade at work. I organize by premarket volume on list. and add Ross's watches too. Gotten to a point of consistent profitability but am missing fills and speed due to screen real estate and RH fills/charts....Funding Suretrader next week...hope DAS App it as good as TOS for account building until I can transition to fulltime! It's extremely tough this way but I figure if I can be consistent with Robinhood switching between it and TOS app for charting. Once I can utilize a computer I'll be really proficient....Anyone that has been in my situation and overcome, or anyone, advice is appreciated....
    One Day at a Time :/ , Stephen Smith

    • Hey Stephen you seem to have a pretty solid process. How has the last year been for you?

    • Hey Stephen, I do the same since Nov last year. Though I feel its overwhelming and sometimes lose on opportunities while at work. Ive also become slightly anti social coz any free time for me is trading time. Made a couple of profits and small losses but so far the experience is great. Looking fwd to the day I will be confident enough to quit my 9-5 job and trade full time. All the best to us!

  7. I study my Textbook Trading and Tandem Trader DVDs daily. I scan for my own stocks first then compare and study them against the watchlist that you provide daily. I watch webinars, daily recaps and I listen to interviews. I study till I dream in charts. Today is my first live day in the market! Thank you, Nate!

  8. I have coffee with a lite breakfast the I check the economic news... then I wait four some smuck to make a speech ..then it is off to the races to catch a profit wave..

  9. Up at 5Am every morning for last 3 years. Meditate 10 minutes. Green Tea and watch Video Lesson and wait for my setup.

  10. I get up @ 5:30 AM (market opens @ 7:30 my time) shower, dress, etc. I start my T.I. scans, drink my back, coffee while watching the pre-market/news. Then I'll do 5 mins of meditation and deep breathing after which I run my trading simulator. I load in runners from the previous day and trade them for a trade or two. It gets my mind and reflexes ready for the open. I can tell if I'm ready for the day or not by dry trading before the market opens. I'll also paper trade the pre-market if there's some momentum there. I don't money trade the P/M as a general rule unless something is really making volume fuelled moves. With about 15 mins before the bell, I'll compile a watchlist from my scans and map out the support/resistance lines on each stock's daily chart. (select 2 - 3 stocks with the best potential in my criteria). Ding... I'm ready!

  11. Hi there great to see so many responses to this topic

  12. My key task is preparing for the next days trading activities, and assessing how I went with my day trades from the previous night.
    I have a defined regular process, that looks at the market, assesses market type and determines strength and weakness.

  13. I swing trade from a long list of stocks I trade over and over again
    on my lunch brake from 11:30 to 12 at work I do a lot sell offs and after work from 2:30 to 4.

    The most important part of my trading is every night after work is looking at a candle stick chart
    of every trade set up and making sure the buys and sell setups are as good a possible
    Most of the time I spend an hour and a half a night editing a lot of trades setups for the next day.

  14. Nate, with all due respect living in the same time zone as the stock market provides huge advantages. The PST time zone is 3 hours behind, and the farther away from NY the harder it must be for anyone. I agree to be as prepared as you can be, but consider others needs as they do their best for sucess. Getting up pre-market at 4 or 5 AM just won't work. What's needed are better tools to provide fast results for quick decisions.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.


Day Trading Lessons