What do shareholders in Acuity Brands (NYSE:AYI), Synnex Corp. (NYSE:SNX), and The Greenbrier Companies (NYSE:GBX) have in common? On the face of it, not much: the first is a lighting specialist, the second a technology distributor, and the last a manufacturer of railcars.

But next week, shareholders in all three of these companies will need to prepare for extreme volatility. That's because all three have a large numbers of shares sold short, and they are all scheduled to report earnings. Last time I identified such companies with these characteristics, they moved an average of 10% following their earnings releases.

Instead of trying to time the market based on this information, I think it's much wiser for existing shareholders to simply prepare mentally for the volatility. Instead of focusing on short-term moves, check out the slideshow below to see what you should really be focusing on.

Brian Stoffel has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.