5 Things You Absolutely Must Do After Placing an Option Trade

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by Gavin in Blog
March 16, 2012 33 comments

If you really want to be a successful options trader, you need to have good systems in place. Part of that system is what you do AFTER placing a trade. Any village idiot can place a trade, it’s what you do next that’s important. Here’s 5 tips to get you headed in the right direction:

1) Check earnings and other important data releases

Of course this is something you should do BEFORE placing a trade, but if you didn’t, you should do so straight after placing the trade. You can always close the trade straight away if there is an important announcement during the life of your trade. Announcements like GDP or jobs report can be major market moving events so you need to be aware of what’s coming up over the course of your trade.

2) Review your plan

For each trade you place you absolutely must have a plan for when you will take profits, cut losses or adjust your trade. Review your plans for the trade you just placed and WRITE THEM DOWN or at least mark them on a chart.

3) Check your margin requirements

Margin calls are horrible, so don’t put yourself in a position where you might get one. After placing your trade, double check that you have enough in your account to cover your current margin requirements. Depending on your trading strategy, you may want to add a 20% buffer to the margin amount to help prevent a margin call.

4) Update your trade log

I hope you have a trade log, because if not you are already behind the 8-ball. After placing your trade you should enter the trade in your trade log so that you will be able to review it at a later date. Below is an extract from my trade log, if you want a copy of this spreadsheet template, just hit the button below.

Trade Log

5) Turn off your charts

Something I was guilty of when I first started out was tick watching. After placing a trade I would sit there watching the chart like a hawk and stressing over each 0.01% move. Life is just too short for that sort of thing, after placing your trade and double checking everything, close out of your brokerage account for at least the next 30 minutes and just relax. Nothing drastic is going to happen in 30 minutes.

  1. Joe says:

    Please send me a copy of the trade log spreadsheet template.
    Thank you.

  2. Glenn says:

    May I hAve a copy of your trade log spreadsheet–very helpful. Thanks!

  3. Chris Jones says:

    Thanks for all of the sharing. Could you send me a copy of your trading spreadsheet?

  4. frank says:

    some really sobering info here. Look forward to working with you. Would be most grateful for copy of your trading spreadsheet template. 

  5. Djohnsonhot says:

    Hi, great website and enjoying it immensely.  Another thing I do is to place a “conditional order”, let’s say on a Bull Put Spread, to close the sold leg IF the underlying price of the equity falls 50 cents below the strike UNLESS the trade was placed to own the stock and then unwind using Covered calls (my primary strategy).

    1.  Thanks Djohnsonhot, yes conditional orders are a good idea as well.

  6. Please send me a copy of your trade log template. Thank you!

  7. Colonel says:

    Thanks for sharing all this very useful tools and advice. Could you send me a copy of your trading spreadsheet ?

    1. Hi Colonel, just emailed you a link where you can download it

  8. Thanks for this article, is there something like MM Calc: for option trading?

    1. Yeah I’ve seen a few versions around the place, but can’t remember where. Wouldn’t be too difficult to create something in excel.

  9. deanferraro82 says:

    I like your trade log idea, very clean interface. At Interactive Brokers they do this for you through their TraderWorkstation platform.
    I had my own log for awhile but did a time/cost/benefit analysis and found the one that IB does for me automatically to be a much better usage of my time.
    However, for options traders just getting started, this is a VERY SMART way to get a feel for your trading and plan execution.

  10. Danos says:

    Would you please email me you trade log? Thanks, Danos

  11. m jose flores says:

    Please send me a copy of your trade log template. Thank you!

  12. John says:

    Any chance you could send me that spreadsheet?

  13. skooter737 says:

    Could you please send me your spreadsheet template? New to options and would love a great place to start recording.

  14. Barrows says:


    Great article. Can you please send me the spreadsheet.


  15. Frank Urbaniak says:

    I could use a copy of the template please

  16. Nina K says:

    Hi, May I have your options template for creating a spreadsheet. much appreciated, Nina

  17. Gavin says:

    Hi Nina, just drop me an email [email protected]

  18. Jack says:

    could u please send a copy of your spreadsheet. Thank you

  19. Joe Hayes says:

    Please send me a copy of the trade log spreadsheet template. Thank You!

  20. darin says:

    Hello, enjoyed your informative article. Thank you for that.
    I would like to have your journal.
    Thank you.

  21. john says:

    Hi, Cool article and good advice.
    I’d like a copy of your trading log template.
    Tracking your trades is important and a helpful tool to learn from.



  22. Steve says:

    Please email me a copy of your trade log spreadsheet template


  23. Greg says:

    Please send me the log spreadsheet. Thanks.

  24. Derrick says:

    Please send me a copy of the trade log spreadsheet template.

    thank you,

  25. Doug says:

    Please send me a copy of the excel trade log template. Really appreciated.

  26. Jack says:

    Hi Please can you also drop me a copy of the spreadsheet – Thx

  27. Steven says:

    Hi there,

    I have been looking for a spreadsheet to track my options trades and really like the layout of yours. Would it be possible to send me exel file so that I could incorporate that into my trading plan?


  28. Fran says:

    Please send me a copy of your trade log. Thanks!

    1. Gavin says:

      Just sent it to you Fran.

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Options Trading 101 - The Ultimate Beginners Guide To Options

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