Equip Your Day Trading Workspace

Successful day traders approach stock market trading as a professional activity. That means starting with an adequate work space and dedicated equipment. Here are some things to consider as you define a space to work and start to equip it for your day trading business.

Define a day trading space

First you need to find an area to work. If you can’t give up an entire room in your house, find a corner or hallway where you can put a desk and a computer just for day trading. Having an area dedicated to day trading will clear your mind so that you can focus on the work at hand.

You also need a table and a chair. Instead of borrowing a chair from the dining room, get a good desk chair that swivels and that you can adjust as necessary while you work. You also need a shelf and a cabinet of some sort to hold your files and documents.

The more you can see and do without getting up from your chair, the better off you’ll be. If you find yourself getting sore at the end of the day, investigate ergonomic products such as special keyboards, contoured mice, wrist pads, and foot rests, all of which are readily available at office supply stores.

Choose computers for day trading

You can’t day trade without at least one computer, and you may want two or three: one to trade from and one for everything else (such as spreadsheets, e-mail, and instant messaging). Some traders keep a spare computer on hand in case the trading computer goes down, but many smart phones can be set up to work as a backup instead.

Almost every personal computer on the market today has the power to handle day trading activities, so you don’t need to sweat over the details. In general, faster processing speeds are better than slower ones, and more memory and storage are preferable to less.

You may discover that not all the software packages you need will be Mac-compatible. If you are one of those die-hard Mac heads, though, be sure to ask brokers and software vendors about compatibility.

Day trading requires more than one monitor

Do yourself a favor and spend money on a big flat-screen monitor. Prices have been falling and sizes have been increasing, so you should have no trouble finding one.

If you need to look at more than one window at a time — to see charts and Level II quotes at the same time, for example — consider using two or more monitors hooked to the same PC. This arrangement gives you a clear view of necessary data. Most traders work with at least two monitors because the information they need is too valuable to be hidden by overlapping windows.

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