Day trading is not what most people think. It is not normally a freaked out person who never moves from his or her computer or laptop refreshing their computer screen every second of the day for a 24 hour period, although some novices think so and are most likely doing just that. It really is not necessary.
An experienced or professional day trader has most likely taken the time to learn his or her craft. They have most likely chosen one market or perhaps two markets to trade in. This is usually a very fluid market like wheat or gold or any of the common grain markets. Trading in a market that is not fluid (that doesn't move a lot due to lack of traders or interest) doesn't suit the attitude or temperament of a day trader and is simply not a good choice when you're talking about getting in a market and getting out within a 24 hour period. An experienced trader has actually taken the time to learn the "personality" of that particular market. They have most likely studied its activity in the past to help them out with present-day activity. This is actually known as "charting" but this is another article for another day. Something else to keep in mind regarding day trading is that, believe it or not, you can actually get in the market, turn off your computer, go back to it about 3 to 4 hours later to check on your position and even get out at that time, hopefully with a profit. Again driving home the point that you do not have to be chained to your PC with your trigger finger on the mouse, just itching to get out of your position at the first tick of the chart in the right direction. Don't get me wrong, you can do that and people do and make a lot of money doing so but this should not be the general picture in your mind when you think of day trading. You should know that a good day trader practices discipline, self control and patience. I've heard it told that these are qualities that no one can give to you neither do they come from the external instead these qualities must be summoned from within a man's heart and soul. This must be why it is so difficult for the average person to be disciplined enough to study his craft and actually leave the computer once in a market and rely on their knowledge rather than their trigger happy index finger.
Consider a market like wheat. I've traded in this market successfully I might add and I know that the moves in wheat can be dramatic up or down. It's fluid (meaning there's a lot of interest in it) and a 5 cent move is worth about 250.00. Why is this worth mentioning? Well, wheat is known to move 5 cents in either direction in about an hour or two hours time. This is beneficial information to a day trader and it makes in entry and exit points much easier to gauge. But, one wouldn't know this unless they've studied this market to become confident enough in it to get in and out in a 24 hour period. Also, with such a volatile market, a pretty savvy day trader could get in and out of the same market more than once or twice in a day. In fact, this is a pretty common practice.
Knowing when to lock in profits is always the question in the back of the minds of traders of all ages and experiences. I am of the opinion and it is my habit to go for the base hits and not chase after the grand slams. Some would consider this style to be "scalping trading" because it's an extremely short-term in-and-out style of trading that capitalizes on immediate profit opportunities. In other words, I take my profits while they're there. I've been forced to sell at a loss several times by not following this one major rule. I was holding out for that last move of the day that in most cases never came or I didn't have the financial staying power to wait for it. I was a bit of a novice at the time, but as the old saying goes, there's no lesson like a bought lesson and I have paid for the knowledge that I now share freely. So know your exit point from the start. This takes the emotion out of your trading and decreases your chances of sustaining a loss.