Saturday, December 24, 2016

Two new systems to change my life

I usually spent the last few days towards the end of the year to do some serious reflection on the practices and the system that I used for the entire year, to see if I can improve it or fine tune it further. I will share two systems that I had recently been implementing that I think will streamline my thought process for further reflection at the end of the year. The first has to do with trading, and the second is more to do with my line of work.

Trading system


In the past before I started using Investingnote in 2016, I have a huge issue with remembering the homework that I do with the charts. The problem is that the charting software I'm using only allows me to save x number of charts. And to add to the problem, it sometimes hangs and all the saved data is gone, including my watchlist. That is extremely frustrating. Due to the lack of a proper system to jot down my thoughts when I'm doing my homework, it becomes highly discretionary. There are situations where I had forgotten some charts that I'm eyeing at, and so missed the opportunity to act on it. The more important thing that is problematic is that I lack a feedback system to tell me if what I'm observed weeks or months earlier will play out as I predicted. This resulted in a very chaotic learning system. This problem is compounded by the fact that POEMS do not have the good till date order system. All orders will be cancelled by the end of the day. It makes planning a trade nearly impossible for me.


Since using Investingnote, I started developing a system where I can track the homework that I do. I have four watchlist:

1. General watchlist
2. Bullish divergence
3. Bearish divergence
4. Close monitoring

The first watchlist (General watchlist) is a collection of companies that I've heard about and is interesting to me at that point in time. Usually this consists of roughly about 2 pages worth of various companies from different industries. If I hear or read about anything interesting, this is the watchlist that the company first get stored under.

The second watchlist (Bullish divergence) belongs to a collection of companies that I think will have a potential to go up. Because I'm looking at daily, weekly and monthly timeframe, sometimes the signal might take a while before it happens, so this is a place where I will check on the chart every weekend. During market extremes (usually a fierce market selldown or euphoria), I might even check it every end of the day.

The third watchlist (Bearish divergence) belongs to a collection of companies that I think will have a potential to go down. This is simply the opposite direction of the second watchlist.

The last watchlist (close monitoring) is the one where immediate action needs to be taken in the next trading week (within 5 days). This is where I will check intraday (the charts from investingnote are live intraday!) and also end of each trading day. Queue orders will be submitted if I think a trading signal is satisfied.

Having a watchlist is not the end point. The key thing is that after every round of homework towards the end of each trading day or trading week, I'll shift them around the four watchlist. Sometimes counters in the general watchlist get shifted to the bullish divergence one, and after some time, they get 'upgraded' to the close monitoring for further action.

The advantages of this system is that:

a. I don't need to waste time looking at all the whole universe of counters to sieve out the ones that requires my immediate attention. Within each trading week, I'll zoom in straight to the 'close monitoring' watchlist and see if I need to do any actions.

b. I can learn if my system works through the follow up of signals because I have a system that allows me to track them over a period of time, upgrading or downgrading them when they occur. This allows me to finetune and improve my observation skills required in my technical charting skillset. I probably learn a lot this year than in the past 5 years!

c. I can tell if the market is turning by looking at the collection of companies in the bullish and bearish divergences watchlist. Currently there is nothing in my bearish divergence watchlist and most of the reits are in my bullish divergence watchlist with many of them upgrading to the close monitoring watchlist. There was a time almost all the reits are in the bearish divergence watchlist. You can see and feel the market movement better this way, including rotational sectorial plays.

d. Time savings. Since I don't waste time tracking things that are not immediate and urgent, every end of trading day homework takes less than 10 mins to do. End of trading week homework takes a bit longer since I have to browse through all the companies in all the watchlist, but that takes at most 30 mins. I feel much more efficient and because just like in an emergency room, this system acts like a trading triage that classifies different counters according to their immediacy and direction.

Why the heck didn't I think of this earlier? I think part of the 'excuse' that I had is that the technology to make this system work is not in place yet. I'm going to continue doing this and finetune it.

Student relationship management system


I have quite a number of students in any one year, and I have a pen and paper notebook that I write on after every lesson, detailing the dates of the lesson and also the things that I did after each lesson. The point of doing this is to allow me to reflect after each lesson had finished and also to allow me to remember which point I am in the teaching of the syllabus. The problem here is that because my note book goes page by page in a weekly format, I can see each week which students I had for the week, and the lessons I had with them, but I have no way to see in a page what topics had been covered by me for any one particular student. To do that, I will have to browse through all the weeks before by flipping my notebook. This system had been working well for me for over a decade, but I felt that I could improve it further. I could add a section on the homework that I've given, plus the difficulties faced by the student doing that homework (this I had never captured before in my current system), and also what to do in the following section. I can't do this like a NIE teacher with a prescribed lesson plan because each student comes to me at different foundation and at different times, and I have to address all the issues that they face within a set period of time before they sit in for their exams. With 20+ students, that has always been problematic. I need a proper student relationship management system.


The solution is really to digitize my notes. I've been using Evernote for that purpose. Under a notebook called 'Students', I write down a brief profile of the student, including the chapters that they had gone through at that point in time before taking my lessons. It will also include the list of chapters that I had covered with the student. After going through a lesson with a student, I'll write my usual handwritten note on my notebook. When I had the time towards the end of the day, I'll key into Evernote a detailed lesson reflection. This includes the date of the lesson, the type of questions the student had problems with, the exact things that is taught during that lesson, the worksheet given. Under the reflection, there will be a line where I will include the homework given. Under that line again, there will be another line where I will write down the things that I will do in the following lesson

The advantage of the system:

I tried to be rationale and list down a, b and c of all the advantages I can think of. I gave up. In truth, there's really only one reason.

I have an excellent memory, up to 2 to 3 weeks, for all my 20+ students that I had in a year. But as I'm getting older, my memory may fail me. I might forget what I've covered with my students, especially after a long break (say 3 weeks or more). I don't want that to happen. In the past, I'll just ask my students, but now I want to have a journal log of what I've done. This will allow me to track everything through all the lessons I had with the student.

On a more sentimental note, it's also to remember that I had gone through all these things with my students.

Just this week, a student came in with a black face. I knew something isn't right and I asked him about it. He just mentioned he had family issues (I guess it's a quarrel with the parents), so I reduced the stress level heaped onto that student. Start to talk a little more to get him into the mood of doing and I also forget about my usual nitpicking. I didn't write it down yet, but I suspect as I'm more familiar with this new system, I'll slowly add it in. Maybe an emotional state of the student. Maybe something interesting that happened in the lesson.

Last year I had another student. He is in NA stream, and I think he is the best learner I've ever seen. He just devours everything he can find in a topic that he is interested in. At that point in time, he is interested in making bullwhips and he searched the internet, watched countless youtube and made his own whip and practiced in it. He knew all the theories and science behind the cracking of a whip. All these will be lost if I didn't record them down.

Is there really an advantage to this system?

Yup. I use my time and life-energy to do the work that I do. The time that I spent with my students ought to be remembered like a treasured faded photograph with my family. I don't want to reduce my students to a grade, or a name. These are living breathing little humans that are learning how to navigate the world. And it's all too easy to forget that while we're trying to earn a living through our work. I don't want to lose that part of it and throw them away. This is what makes my work meaningful and it should stay that way. THAT is the advantage to this system.


Anonymous said...

2nd part of your story sounded too.... unnecessary? (Sorry, can't think of a better word for now :p )

Evernote is good, but to serve the purposes you describe, even Microsoft Word or Google Doc can do better job isn't it?

Singapore Man of Leisure said...


And people wonder why they are in a rut...

Still thinking of ways to sharpen your saw I see ;)

I wonder how many will do it without the "prompting" from big daddy, bosses, peers, mommy, etc. I guess that's why people hire personal trainers, advisers, gurus to tell them what to do each day.

What? Make a decision on my own? If wrong, I got no one to blame! LOL!

I know its Christmas and everything, but I'll give you a little friendly "nudge" - people were trading before computers were invented ;)

Let's hope to create more opportunities for friction between us next year 2017!

Without friction how to sharpen the saw?

Merry Christmas butterfly!

la papillion said...

Hi anonymous,

Yes, haha, I agree with the use of the word :) I don't know why I wanted to implement that. I guess I just have to try it and see if it'll bring me greater insights. Towards the end of the year is where I start to think a lot and implement crazy funny ideas, including my 50k savings trick lol! Not all will survive the trial of experimentation but I know if nothing is changed, then nothing will be changed!

la papillion said...


Haha, I knew someone will pick up on this :) pls nudge and poke me more often, I'll bring out the best in both of us!

I guess I could have written it down in a log book for my trading, but I never did. That's an excuse. Technology happened along, and I started to think how I can best utilise it. I put A and B together and I got C! Lol

Merry Xmas SMOL, may we have many more opportunities to spar ;)

Unknown said...

This is a very good habit. Year end review and reflection. We are happy that InvestingNote has helped you with your investing. So glad to have you in our community. For the rest, don't forget to follow BullytheBear:)