Friday, May 31, 2013

Ninja Captain shares his time-management skills

Today, I have the pleasure of hosting a close blog buddy of mine: Ninja Captain Alex Cavanaugh. He is the author of the successful Cassa Trilogy: a space opera, which is on the Amazon’s bestsellers list. Alex will share his time management secrets with us.

Time Management, Ninja Style!

I joke that I use clones to get everything done. But really, it’s just me. I’m one lone Ninja balancing work, family, writing, blogging, music, and life.

Learning to juggle everything hasn’t been easy. I’m not a natural multi-tasker. I still manage to make it work though.

Here are some of the things I do to manage my time without the use of clones:

·         I’m fortunate that I can blog from work. I perform my duties on one computer while blogging on another. (And often while watching a movie on a third!)
·         I keep my regular blogger buddies in a separate folder in my reader so I can access them quickly
·         I stick to a schedule, blogging Monday-Wednesday-Friday. This gives me a break in between so I don’t burn out.
·         Posts are planned in advance and as I find new items, I add the links to the appropriate file in Word. (Then I don’t have to go back and search for something.)
·         I have a calendar and keep track of all blog events. (Be terrible to miss my own blogfest!)

·         Guest posts are written well in advance. (Mostly so I don’t forget!)
·         When working on a manuscript, I block out two to four hours every evening. It doesn’t matter what else is happening in the world – that is my time to write.
·         I’m a lazy writer, so I take advantage of NaNo and similar challenges. (Gives me the motivation I need because I hate to lose.)

Life in general
·         I don’t have kids, but I do have a wife who needs attention. We eat dinner, play games, and see a lot of movies together. My freedom to do so many things is a testimony to the strength of our relationship and good communication. (It also helps that my wife has the patience of a Saint.)
·         I’m also a guitar player in a band and practice a minimum of one hour a day. Knowing others are depending on me not to suck motivates me to schedule time.
·         I know when to take breaks and enjoy life rather than let it control me.

I know my pace of visiting over a hundred blogs a day is something a lot of people can’t fathom. Then again, there are those who write a story every month, read several books a week, or home school their kids. We all have situations and challenges that are unique, just as we all possess different strengths and talents. We have to find what works best for us.

I think it all comes down to what a person really wants to do with his time. If it’s a priority, we’ll find a way to make it happen.

With or without the use of clones!

Alex J. Cavanaugh

Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design and graphics. He is experienced in technical editing and worked with an adult literacy program for several years. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. The author of the Amazon bestsellers, CassaStar and CassaFire, his third book, CassaStorm, will be released September 17, 2013.

Thank you Alex, for letting us into your time-management secrets. Hopefully, we will be able to accomplish a little of what you so effortlessly do everyday.


  1. Oh Alex this is why we have to love you. Your schedule is nuts but you work with it anyway and take care of the wife. Wow now I get why people say a man who takes care of you is a true romantic. Forget the prince and the castle this is what true love is all about. Both your blog and wife are so lucky to have you.

  2. Agree that time management is the key to attain balance in life!

  3. Hello Rachna! Yay for having The Cap'n on your lovely blog! He is totally Amazeballs and ever so Ninja!!! He multi-tasks like no other! And he wears invisible underwear. Oh yes. Ahem. Take care

  4. Thank you, Sheena-kay. Think my wife will get a chuckle out of that.

    Amazeballs, Kitty? My wife will laugh out loud at that one!

    Thanks again, Rachna!

  5. Thanks for sharing how you do it all, Alex. It's great that you can blog from work. That would make it so much easier to follow as many blogs as you do. I'm impressed with how disciplined you are in keeping up the blogging and all you the rest you do. Sounds like you have an awesome, supportive wife.

  6. Balance and priorities, the key to most things really. Thanks for the peek into the day of a Ninja!

  7. Truly some are more blessed than others and you sir, are truly so!

    Kiss that wife of yours and thank your lucky stars!

    Excellent post, thanks for sharing, love the glimpse into you and your secrets!

  8. Alex, can I just say I want your job? No, seriously, clearly you know how to focus on what is important. Still, I think Ninja metabolisms that must spin a little faster. Thanks for featuring Alex, Rachna.

  9. Hi, Rachna and Alex,

    Eye opening post, Alex. I need to copy that bit about writing for an hour or two, no matter what. I can usually find an excuse not to write this evening, which happens way too frequently.

    Balance is so important. Thanks for helping me remember that.

  10. Alex, is a one of those people... Awesome person, he has friends, family and lovely wife.. I wish I had half the energy, his job and positive vibe.

    Great post...Rachna!

    He forgot to mention, he grabs all of his robot strength from his t-shirt... sorry I couldn't resist, resistance is futile.

    Jeremy [Retro]
    Oh No, Let's Go... Crazy

  11. I must try to absorb some of these approaches.

  12. Natalie, she is awesome!

    Yolanda, when I get home tonight, I will.

    Liza, the job does have its downside sometimes though.

    Jeremy, that's right - it's gotta be the shirt.

  13. I always enjoy interviews with Alex, and especially learning his tips on organization. Thanks, Rachna and Alex! But when are we going to get a picture, Alex? All this blogging and nobody knows what you look like. Maybe you are actually an alien.

  14. Thanks for following my blog during the bloghop, I'm returning the favour now.

    I'm envious of the Ninja Captain's ability to multi-task - working, blogging and watching a film? I can barely talk and type at the same time!

  15. Gosh Karen, I think you hit the nail on the head, he's an alien who doesn't need sleep and hides behind a Ninja costume. I still don't know how you do it Alex. I don't work and have problems getting to just a few people. Glad you have a supportive wife.

    Invisible underwear hunh??


  16. You are a hard worker, Alex. You seem to give everything your all. I admire that.

  17. Hi Rachna & Alex.
    This post de-mystifies the Ninja Captain a little, and also throws the "clones-theory" out of the window!
    Thanks for sharing!

    Writer In Transit

  18. Very good tips! And it is really helpful to have a job where you can do your blogging on the side. :)

  19. I don't have a job to distract me and I don't watch movies while I blog. So that's my problem. I'm too focused. I need to do a bunch of stuff all at the same time.

    A Faraway View
    An A to Z Co-host blog

  20. Hate watching movies while doing something else, always feel I'll miss something, unless the movies is crap that is. And yeah always find a way. And a 100 a day, pffft no issue haha

  21. Karen, MJ has a photo of me on her blog today.

    Annalisa, it's all in the focus.

    Jo, that's just a rumor.

    Teresa, it's the least I can do.

    Lee, now you got it!

    Pat, that's right - not a problem!

  22. Great post. Now I know his secrets. :)

  23. Hmm, so probably I should fire the dwarves and I'll organize my time better. But if I do that then there will be 600 jobless dwarves. I wonder if the world can manage that.
    Great advice!

  24. Hi friends..thank you for visiting and your lovely comments. Alex sure has a secret gadget/weapon that we all writers and bloggers can do with. Maybe he is an alien with superpowers or has hundreds of clones who do it all for him ;)

    Whatever is the secret of his time-management skills, our Ninja Captain is an adorable, warm-hearted guy that we all love and are very proud of :)

  25. Alex surely is the ninja master at blogging!! I always suspected clones, but I guess it is just him! :)

    Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

  26. Time management is one of my weak points.

  27. I am not surprised that Alex comes with helpful tips like these. I am not surprised at his generosity of sharing them.

  28. That's cool you get to blog from work. Not everyone can do that. But now we know the secret to the Ninja skills! Like Carol, I took notes. ;)

  29. Al, you fire them, they are not coming back here and using the clone machine again.

    Thanks, Rachna.

    Just me, Laura!

    Thanks everyone - you took notes! I'm humbled.

  30. Great post:) Alex is truly an inspiration:)

  31. OK, maybe not clones ... but you have to have something like a super-duper AI who does all that blog commenting for you. No human being can possibly do all that!! Unless ... you're not really human. I know! Maybe you're really a computer and that's why you're so good at writing those cool SF novels. Hmm...

  32. Yesterday I was talking to a co-worker who has enrolled in a county sponsored degree program. She is single parent of 4 kids, works full time and is now attempting a bachelors degree. I did the same several years ago (a much younger me).

    I'm thinking of going back to get my masters degree, and asked this busy woman how she is doing it all. Her answer was "you just do it."

    Funnily enough, when I was getting my BSW I said the same thing to a 20 something student.

    Sorry, this post made me think of that response - once from myself, and once from my co-worker. And now from you Ninja Capt Sir.

    I guess WE (meaning everyone) all prioritize, and get to what is most important to us, and it doesn't always look like what another is doing. If you follow my meaning.


  33. I'm always amazed at how many blogs the Ninja Captain visits! It's clear he has great time-management skills :)

  34. Wow Alex. This is such a helpful post for those of us who are trying hard to multitask. I have been having problems just trying to fit everything in, but the one I found most useful is noting down the blog post ideas in advance.

    Well done for time managing so effectively.

  35. Wow, this is an impressive blueprint. I'm actually working on a similar thing for myself. It's encouraging to see someone making it work as successfully as you do.

    Thanks for sharing your tips!

  36. "Wow" seems to be the word to sum up your time management skills, Alex. Wow. I want some of that.

  37. Lexa, sounds like the making of a science fiction novel...

    Donna, I know exactly what you mean. If you want to do it, you find a way.

    Naina, glad that idea helps you!

    Words, happy it helps!

  38. Now we know your great secrets. I agree-- it really comes down to how you want to spend your time. :) Thanks for sharing, Alex.

  39. I smile every time I see mini Alex. I hope when I retire I learn to use time throughout the day to do blogging and get to more friends each day.
    I set aside a few hours at night for writing too. Weekend hours are bonuses.

  40. I wish I could compartmentalize my schedule as effectively. Thanks for the tip about keeping regular blogger buddies in a separate folder. I can definitely improve my ability to keep tab of comments while rushing through my feeds!

  41. Really good tips here. You are quite lucky to be able to blog at work. I like how you acknowledge that different folks need to make time for different things (kids, etc.) and how you balance everything with your relationship with your wife. Nice.

  42. It's incredible that you can keep to your schedule. I guess blogging while at work helps. Most people don't have that freedom.

  43. I had a little giggle that you claimed you weren't a natural multi-tasker, and then went on to describe your three computers at work with work, blogs, and a movie...hehehe. But I totally get how you visit those 100+ blogs a day now. It's far easier to do a few at a time while you're doing other things, instead of doing a massive block of them all at once.

  44. Definitely couldn't do three things at once on three computers. Alex is the man!

  45. The second name, 'Cavanaugh" sounds quite familiar although I am not sure of his literary works. Anyways, Thanks for sharing a wonderful time management skills. It is awesome.

  46. Susan, maybe Mini-Alex needs to make more appearances.

    Martina, I hope that helps you!

    Thanks, Shell!

    Richard, I know it's a blessing.

    Lynda, there is a lot of wait time with my work, which frees me to blog in batches. And for the record, I usually don't watch the movie, I just listen.

  47. Sorry to be so late in reading Alex's words of wisdom. Thanks for hosting him. I agree that if something's a priority, we make it happen. But I don't agree that Alex is not a natural multi-tasker. He's phenomenal through and through.


  48. thats one hell of time management...since i mostly blog for fun..cant really reach this level.

  49. So true. Often, it all comes down to scheduling time.

    I used to be able to hit about 250 blogs a day, but either I grew busier or lazier. Maybe both. :-)

  50. It's great to see Alex here! I am inspired to get more disciplined and organized. :) Thanks, Rachna and Alex!

  51. Alex, you are a true ninja in both spirit and reality. I applaud your organization and admire how you always manage to support everyone.

  52. Truth is Alex has a Time Turner. So really he has 1000 hours in a day instead of 24. :D

  53. Thanks, Robyn!

    Misha, that's a lot!!!

    Thanks everyone!

  54. This comment has been removed by the author.

  55. Alex - you rock! Love reading your time management techniques. I need to get my schedule back in a better order these days, but I know what you mean about making choices.
    I feel like I haven't been breathing if I don't read a bit every day . . . which means I choose reading over tv, blogging, and even (cringe) sometimes writing. I read everywhere, and I read every day.
    However, scheduling it in might be smarter than just losing my schedule for the sake of a good read.

  56. Great tips, Alex! You are a time management fiend, that's for sure. You amaze me all the time with how efficient you are.