Hey guys. I'm at a bit of a crossroads as a player right now. I live and work in NYC, i'm really busy, I don't have as much time as I would love to play my guitar. I'm trying to learn one thing at a time and right now I was wondering if any experienced players can enlighten me. I'm either:

a) going to spend what time I have practicing the pentatonic scales and other figures and patterns so I can shred up and down the neck.

b) spend my time practicing simple exercises from a book in an effort to be able to sight read guitar sheet music better, hopefully proficiently.

Which would be the best to do with one's limited time? Ultimately I'd like to be able to string together power-chords and improvised riffs with a solo section without breaking rhythm.

I want to learn how to improvise good sounds anywhere on the neck. Would either of these approaches help with that? I'm trying to make my practicing more efficient since I only have an hour if that most days to practice. Best regards,

Do this:

1) learn solos by ear
2) learn basic theory - major scale, intervals, naming chord progressions, pentatonic scales - then analyse the solos and progressions you've learnt.
3) practice improvising and scatting over simple progressions in guitar -friendly keys -
4) listen to a lot of music with improvisation - blues, jazz etc.
5) jam with records/mp3's etc.

Sight reading is a complete waste of time for what you want to accomplish. It's a skill that is really only relevant to studio session players. You can spend a little time on it to familiarize yourself with the notes on the fretboard, but with only one hour a day to practice your time should be spent doing other things.
Hi man,
you have to first set your goals. What do you want to be able to play, where in what kind of band ect in 5 years? And don't just go i wanna be able to shred all over the place. Be specific!! Really thing about this, take a whole day, a week... whatever just get the specific goals down on the paper!
When you have 5 year goals go down step by step 2,5 years, 1 year, 6 months, 3 months and so on. you'll come down to a single day. Before you do that you will probably need to learn what exactly you need to do, practice, listen to and so on to be able to play the way you want to in 5 years. For example if you want to be a blues guitarist, have 2 cds out and on the road i don't think its really important to invest a lot of time in sight reading. On the contrary if you want to be a session musician there's totally different way to go about it.

Ask yourself WHAT do i want to BE; DO; HAVE; HOW would i want to be able to play in 5 year. Explore yourself and you'll find out what you need to do. Don't ask people what they think you should be practicing, before you know what you want to become.
Spend 50% of your time learning and practicing scales and chords until you know them all. Spend the other 50% learning to play songs you like.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY