Today was a really nasty day for $SPY. This was the kind of down day I was waiting for and unsuccessfully tried to short back in August. I even had a $SPY 439 put that expired LAST Friday. If I picked an option that was out another week the trade would have been quite profitable today. Instead, I lost just over $200 on premium last Friday.

I had the right idea, but was too early. But now that it happened, the action occurred too swiftly for me to catch it and I missed the whole move.
Today's sea of red

And that's the issue with trading while having a day job. Whether you are day trading, swing trading, or position trading based on fundamentals, doing it well is a full time job in itself.

My job as a software developer puts a high load of mental stress on my mind. My whole day consists of solving complex logic puzzles for my employer. Mental energy is spent on this, which impairs my ability to make the kind of split second decisions needed for trading stock.

The stock market is not going to wait for my coffee break between meetings. The best trading entry and exit opportunities happen whenever they decide. It could be any time between 9:30am and 4pm. Sometimes critical information about key price levels and news comes off-hours. To be any good at trading, you not only need to be present and watching for those pivotal moments, but you also need to be absorbing and mentally processing the price action leading up to them.

I thought I could be a decent trader by reviewing my stock scans and making trading plans outside of my day job hours. During the day I would take occasional breaks to "check in" on stocks and see which of my limit orders have been triggered. In a slowly rising market, this strategy can work. Not so much in a fast market like this.

Trying to time the market on the short side also requires a lot of patience and failed attempts. When it's finally ready to move down, you can get the whole move you were waiting for hard and swift - intraday, as an overnight gap, or a single day's action.

This has been my frustration for the last 9 years or so, ever since my first failed attempt at being a day trader full time. I don't know how I resolve this. I have sharpened my knowledge in that time with the quick glances at charts that I've been able to see during that time. I just can't apply it in real time.

For now, I will just keep stashing away trading capital so that I'm ready to go at it again when the moment is right. Hopefully that won't be too little too late.