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The Trading Doctor - TIME TRAPS - Learn to Manage your Time

InvestorEducation / Analysis & Strategy Mar 04, 2007 - 08:39 PM GMT

By: Dr_Janice_Dorn


Time is the substance I am made of. Time is a river which sweeps me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger which destroys me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire which consumes me, but I am the fire. The world, unfortunately, is real; I, unfortunately, am Borges... Jose Luis Borges, Essay: "A New Refutation of Time," 1946

We react and respond to the following: data, information, knowledge and wisdom. My vision is to bring you knowledge and wisdom which will enrich your life, challenge you and propel you to higher and higher levels of evolution of your brain. I want each and every one of you who who reads what I write to be--not on the cutting edge of the curve-- but far ahead of the curve. My wish for you and for myself is that we retain and remain imbued with a personal value system that enriches and nourishes every aspect of our lives.

As traders and investors, we are obsessed with time. There never seems to be enough time, especially when we are entrepreneurial and our business is trading for a living. Even among those who do not trade, lives are becoming increasingly  more stressful and crazed because of time pressures.

The pace of life is accelerating at logarithmic speed, such that the average person living or working in a large city is bombarded with more information in one day than a highly-educated individual in the 18th Century received in the course of his or her entire life.

We have the same amount of time, but is appears to lack both quality and quantity. Every aspect of our lives is being molded and changed by the computer revolution which began in the 1970s. We are hypertasking, hypertexting, and attached to the cellphone to the complete distraction of ourselves and those around us. We are so plugged in that 50% of us are responding to e-mails from the privacy of our bathroom. Our senses are constantly bombarded by people we don't know with information we haven't solicited. They have our phone numbers, cell numbers, e-mail addresses and feel completely free to reach out and touch us any time they feel like it. Our part in this is that we allow it. Our boundaries are becoming increasingly penetrated by the sheer process of living in the electronic age.

Where do we stop and the connections to others begin?

As a result of the computer revolution and our participation in it, the most precious commodity that we have, our TIME, appears to be eroding. Many actually see time as the enemy and do what they can to defy it. They sleep less, take medications to make time pass more slowly, engage in activities which are disruptive to health in an attempt to conquer time. Of interest, one of the most common questions I receive from traders is "What can I do to sleep less?"

Clearly, many people feel that there is simply not enough time in a 24 hour day to do, go, see, study, sleep, eat, exercise, take care of stuff and have a life. There is too much information to digest. The next e- mail is the vitally important one to read. The next phone call or text message just might be the answer to the question we had a few seconds ago. Time is all we have, but where the heck did it go?

Time Trap 1:  Being connected to the 24/7 technological revolution .
Although this appears to have significant advantage and to give us some kind of "edge" in terms of always being "on top of" breaking news, being the first to hear about something and then relating it immediately to a few hundred of your closest friends, there is massive downside. The distinction between work life and personal life is becoming increasingly blurred. We allow ourselves to be at the mercy of anyone, anytime about any thing.  How is that working for most of us? From my point of view, I am beginning to resent it (and resentment is never ever good).  The solution is to find a way out of being always "connected."

Time Trap 2:  Exposure to increasing amounts of multiplying information .
How much of the information that you receive on a daily basis is of actual importance to you and your trading  or other business. In my opinion, the majority of the information is almost useless, yet I still find myself un-muting the TV whenever I see "Breaking News". And- have you noticed how often the words “Breaking News" now appears? There is clearly a lot more Breaking News these days than I can recall, and it seems to increase every day. What really happens when we are on information overload is that our brains simply cannot process this information, so we default into other systems. As a general rule, these systems are old-brained and consist of either images or emotions. This happens a lot with traders who, in the course of the trading day get millions of messages. Unable to process or sort out, they default into emotional buying or selling. But that is a story for another day. We have to find a way to free ourselves from the curse of information overload.

Time Trap 3: Temptation or necessity to make an increasing number of choices in a fixed period of time .
We are on choice overload. The other day in the grocery store (a wonderful psychology laboratory for me!),  I noticed that the number of choices of various types of tea had increased to something like 200. The more choices there are, the more the advertising and marketing machines have to compete for what is called "share of mind." They have to do whatever it takes to get you to buy Type A tea whenever you think of tea. Again, your brain, having heard so many powerful messages about type A tea will go emotionally and immediately to Type A tea when you think of tea. Whew! What a relief that you didn't have to deal with those 199 other choices. Your old brain made that decision for you in a blink of an eye. Choice overload leads to emotional decisions. We have to come up with a process to deal with being on choice overload without making emotional decisions.

Time Trap 4:  Commoditization of work and livelihood .
Economist Joseph Schumpter said that the process of capitalistic economies was one of "creative destruction”. The speed of change overwhelms old structures and jobs are commoditized, i.e., what a person does is analyzed by one criterion only: What does it cost? As a result, people sense that they have to work longer and harder to justify their existence so that they do not get commoditized or Delled ( named after Michael Dell, this refers to eliminating as many steps as possible between the manufacturer and the consumer). As the computer revolution progresses, so does creative destruction. What can a person do to ensure that he or she is on the creative rather than the destructive side of this process? How does one organize time in order to be immune to this process?

Time Trap 5:  Trivialization of life values .
We are living in an age of information, not an age of wisdom. This is leading to stress, burnout, addiction, and erosion of basic value systems. All one has to do is to watch the never-ending propagation of reality TV programs where reality "actors" sign humiliation contracts in an attempt to become a reality star.  Anyone who followed “The Flavor of Love” saw last night that the contestant know as " New York" now has her own reality show called " I Love New York." She became a star by allowing herself to be humiliated and rejected several times on "The Flavor of Love." Now, she and her mother are both reality stars with their own program and she was a  recent guest on Jimmy Kimmel's late night show. This woman attained fame by acting outrageously and allowing herself to be humiliated repeatedly on a reality TV show.

What happened to traditional values, ancient wisdoms, random acts of kindness, family units, respect for the dignity of the human condition, spirituality? People are becoming more and more cynical about traditional values and wisdom. What can one do to make time for wisdom or value-based reflection? How does one find or enhance meaning in a world where people are burning out, stressing out, becoming ill and having adopted rushing as a lifestyle? What are your thoughts or solutions for any or all of these Time Traps?

Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you... Carl Sandburg, U.S. biographer & poet (1878 - 1967)

Until Next Time,

Good Trading and Brain On!

By Dr. Janice Dorn, MD, PhD
Prescriptions for Profits

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© Copyright 2006-07 -- Janice Dorn, M.D., Ph.D. -- Ocean Ivory LLC

Dr. Janice Dorn is a graduate of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where she received her Ph.D. in Neuroanatomy. She did her postdoctoral work in Neurophysiology at the New York Medical College. She received her M.D. from La Universidad Autonoma de Ciudad Juarez, did one year of clinical clerkships in Phoenix, Arizona. and then completed a Neurology Internship at The University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. For the past twelve years, Dr. Dorn has focused her attention on trading, mentoring and commentary in the financial markets, with emphasis on Behavioral NeuroFinance, Mass NeuroPsychology, Trading NeuroPsychology, Futurism and Life Extension. A graduate of Coach University, she is a full time futures trader and trading coach.  Dr. Dorn is the author of over 300 publications, relating to Trading and Investing Neurouropsychology, Market Mass Neuropsychology, Behavioral Neurofinance, and Holistic Wellness and Longevity.

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