You don’t realize how much time you’re wasting until you start tracking your time. For the five days I did this challenge, I kept track of EVERYTHING I did, and how long it took me. I then tallied up the totals for each activity. Here were the results (in order of time spent):

  • Sleep: 2590 minutes
  • Writing/Editing: 1208 minutes
  • TV/YouTube: 955 minutes
  • Growth: 944 minutes
  • Exercise: 355 minutes
  • Morning/Evening Routine: 272 minutes
  • Random: 267 minutes
  • Social: 207 minutes
  • Lost Time: 114 minutes
  • Phone: 112 minutes

As you can see, approximately one-third of my time was spent sleeping. The second most time-consuming activity was my work. I spent an average of 242 minutes writing, editing, or performing other author-related activities each day. I’m not surprised, but I’m a little worried I’m not as productive with my time as I could be.

The biggest time-waster was TV/YouTube. I spent a total of 191 minutes per day watching mindless entertainment. It’s less than the 240 minutes consumed by the average North American, but I still feel it’s something I need to work on.

I spent 955 minutes on growth-related activities. Most of that came from the six hours I spent at Toastmasters—an organization that helps you become a better public speaker—but I still consumed at least one hour of personal development material each day.

Honestly, I didn’t spend as much time exercising as I thought I would. That may be because I took Monday off, but I’m still surprised how little time it took me to perform my daily workouts.

The last five items on the list are pretty self-explanatory. I will, however, mention the fact that I don’t normally spend that much time on the phone. My mother had just returned from a two-month-long trip, so most of that time was spent talking about her experiences in India. I also helped my father resolve an issue with his website, so that took up a large chunk of time.

All right. That pretty much covers everything, but there’s one item I purposefully omitted from the list.

Porn.

I’ve struggled with this addiction for a long time (since I was about fifteen.) I used to spend countless hours each day consuming pornographic material—I even wrote erotica for five years—but I’ve since managed to downgrade the role it plays in my life. I wouldn’t say I’m cured, but I no longer waste my precious free time locked in my room, scouring the internet for my next fix.

I know this is a touchy subject, and not everyone believes porn is an addiction, but it is—trust me, I know what I’m talking about. I won’t go into the details but suffice it to say I’ve wasted countless nights consuming, downloading, and cataloguing videos and images of all genres.

For the longest time, I had no idea how devastating porn could be on a young man’s life. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I started to realize just how much it was impacting my life. Not only did I feel like crap after each porn-watching marathon, but I was constantly assuaged with guilt. But worst of all was the manner in which it altered my mindset. Watch enough porn, and you’ll begin to develop an inferiority complex. Your standards for beauty also shift, and you become so picky most real-life girls fail to meet your impossible standards. Not to mention the fact that real life seems incredibly dull after the picture-perfect encounters portrayed in porn films.

As you can see, porn sucks. For the longest time, it had a firm hold on me, but I’ve managed to downplay the role it plays in my life. I no longer consider myself an addict, and I only occasionally consume pornographic material. But, every once in a while, my old habits resurface, and the feelings of shame and self-hatred return.

Monday—the first day of my challenge—was one of those days. I was so exhausted from the previous week—I’d been so focused on productivity I didn’t take enough time to rest—my willpower was running low, and I ended up watching 176 minutes of porn. Of course, I regretted it as soon as it was done, but the worst part of all was the knowledge that I could no longer hide my guilt behind closed doors. I’d promised myself to be COMPLETELY honest during my Journey of a Thousand Mistakes, and that meant finally coming clean about my addiction.

Recording the video for my YouTube channel and my podcast was terrifying, but also incredibly liberating. As of this writing, no one has seen the video or listened to the audio, but I’m convinced being honest with those who follow my journey will be an amazing experience. In the meantime, all I can do is keep striving for greatness and be open about my setbacks. I encourage you to do the same.