I got this article off of jamplay.com and thought it was good and thought I would copy and paste it here. Hope that is ok to do?
When you set out to practice, you must take the following into account at all times.
Practicing guitar, much like diet involves a healthy balance. Too much technique will yield great technique in a non-musical context - it will be simple mechanics.
Too much theory will yield an in depth understanding of music that cannot be executed properly due to technical hindrance.
The list goes on, but the crux of the matter is that we must have small doses of all aspects of music in order to be well rounded. Practicing only a little technique a day, for example, is enough when spread over a week consistently.
Aiming to practice a lot in a day (at least 4 hours) is only realistic for the fortunate few. However, even if that were possible for you, it must be consistent. If you cannot keep it up and stay motivated, then it is wiser to cut it down.
Practicing 4 hours in one day and then leaving it for the next 2 will not build physical or mental benefits as an hour a day 5 days a week would. It is of the utmost importance to set a realistic practice slot that you can consistently maintain. This will yield far bigger results in the long term.
Planning is very often overlooked while practicing guitar. How many times have you found yourself noodling around and then before you know it an hour has passed? I would argue this is an hour of valuable practice time wasted. Of course you need to have fun, but do that at the end of your practice time. Eating your greens before having dessert would be a good analogy. Of course music should be fun, but if we want real results we have to invest real "focused time" to practice.
Having a practice diary not only keeps us focused on our goals, it also reminds us of our progress.
Sometimes we feel no progress is being made, however, turn a month back in our practice diary and we may see that we were once playing exercise 23 at 60 bpm and are now playing at 120 bpm, these things are easy to forget without a practice diary. It keeps us motivated and focused which is very important!
Here is an example of a page from my practice diary:
M.A.P. stands for Massive Action Plan. In other words, to move anywhere, we need to know where we are going. Set yourself huge targets and get clear on what incremental steps you can take to get there. These goals are large, so even if you only improve 1% a day imagine the amazing improvements you will make over a year or two!
Remember, we are only limited by our imagination!
I once had a student that used to practice for 6-8 hours a day,and had been playing for nearly 30 years... the only problem was that he sucked! I then realized that it is possible to practice badly. Simply practicing for 8 hours will not necessarily make you an awesome guitar player. In fact, I believe he could have made much more progress with just an hour of ďgoodĒ practice. By practicing the wrong things for 8 hours he could have made his playing worse!
What is Good Practice?
First we will address what bad practice is. Bad practice is re-enforcing negative habits such as having a bad angle in your picking hand, or holding the guitar wrong. It is going over the same song that you can already play just fine. It is having no direction in your practice routine and just noodling away for hours with no idea of what it is you are trying to actually achieve.
Good practice is re-enforcing positive technique habits, and really working on exercises that will specifically improve your technical ability and increase your dexterity and control. It is working on NEW songs that will increase your repertoire and challenge you musically and technically (not too far beyond your ability though). It is having a well planned out practice routine that will address all areas of guitar playing and will challenge you to push yourself everyday. Most of all, itís being consistent with this that matters the most. If you say you are going to practice for 2 hours everyday, then stick with it. It is not going to be beneficial to practice for 8 hours in a single day and then not touch your guitar for the rest of the week. This will not build good technique very quickly and will just burn you out if you arenít ready for it.
My experience tells me that most good guitar players have either been though a period of a year or more of practicing insanely for 8 hours a day, or they practice consistently every day for many years. Players that simply spend their years noodling away and not challenging themselves will remain sounding like a novice, even if they spend 30 years playing. It is about the quality of practice and not the quantity. If you combine quality with quantity, then you have the golden ticket to getting in the express line to guitar stardom!
I am not saying that everyone should aspire to be a guitar virtuoso, it's simply not for everyone. Iím sure many players are perfectly happy just noodling around. But if you want to dramatically improve and you are prepared to work for it then I hope you have picked up some tips from this article that will help you achieve your goals.
This is some really good stuff. I really need to get into the habit of a good practice routine.