Many traders have original approaches to keeping a trade journal. We’ve seen pros who scribble a few words on the back of an envelope, and then shove it in their pocket, and others who record a few words on their phones. This may seem to save time, but the lack of comprehensive information means that this kind of journaling doesn’t offer the full potential benefits.
And some professional traders still use spreadsheets to do their journaling, although solutions exist that are far more user-friendly and productive.
We shouldn’t be surprised, however, because we’ve all been taught to use spreadsheets to support any number of productive business activities. Some people still use them for everything from inventory management to financial projections, despite the wealth of alternatives.
Using spreadsheets, whether Excel ones or similar products, for stock trade journaling isn’t the most productive approach. It’s time to put aside this antiquated tool. The reasons include:
- Spreadsheets are meant for numbers and formulae. Trade journaling involves some numbers – stock prices, profit, loss, etc., but it involves a great deal more, like noting strategies and analysis and market conditions and your emotions. Getting all that onto a spreadsheet isn’t easy, and the frustration involved will discourage you from journaling.
- Entering data into spreadsheets is a tedious task. You are squeezing your notes into little boxes intended for interactive calculations. But your journaling notes can’t be analysed by the spreadsheet software, so you are simply using an inconvenient format.
- It is very hard to find and correct errors on a spreadsheet. You have to delve through a mass of closely-packed data and notes. Again, trying to make it all work will discourage you from journaling, which should be an easy and pleasurable task. You should look forward to journaling; it shouldn’t ever be a chore.
- Spreadsheets won’t crunch all your data for you. You can get them to add up the numbers on your trades, but you can’t get them to pull together non-numerical information into a report. High-quality journaling software can do just that: It can create reports that give you precious information about your trading.
Clearly, there are better tools to use for stock trade journaling than spreadsheets. But there’s still one more reason: Spreadsheets are ugly and boring. Why stare at this outdated and unpleasant format if you don’t have to?
There are high-quality trading journal applications available. These have user-friendly interfaces, which are also attractive to look at. They do not pose formatting problems, as you just enter the information you wish to add in the appropriate form – you don’t have to squeeze it in either. What’s more, these applications can generate useful and pertinent reports to help you refine your trading skills. It just makes so much more sense.