How Many Hours Does It Take to Be Proficient at Something?

Learning and Growing Take Time. But how much time?

Tom Egelhoff
4 min readMar 22, 2022


Image by nightowl from Pixabay

What’s the result that you want to accomplish? Do you want to play guitar better than Stevie Ray Vaughan or be one of the people who design moon rockets?

Whatever it is the one hard fast rule is you must show up and put in the work.

I must have read a hundred books on how to play the piano.

Nope can barely play “Chopsticks.” After days, weeks, and years of practice — Carnegie Hall.

Showing Up Isn’t the Only Key

If you want to be proficient at something, it’s more than just desire. A person spending 4 hours a day will progress faster than someone putting in 2 hours per day.

Both are putting in the time needed, and it may take both the same number of total hours.

The difference is the person putting in four hours will accomplish the goal faster — same hours for both — one just gets it done quicker.

The amount of available time you must devote to your goal is another consideration. “Success is the day-to-day progression toward a worthwhile goal or dream.”

Are more hours put in equal to a successful outcome? Let’s look deeper.

There Are Exceptions

If I want to run a marathon in six months, how will I prepare? Right now, if I wanted to run a 100-yard dash they’d time me with a calendar.

Training 18–20 hours a day is probably going to damage my body beyond repair.

It’s not just the number of hours per day or week but how those hours are spent to be efficient and productive in the proficiency process.

Cramming the night before the final exam will probably not help you pass the test.

You’d be better off getting a good night’s sleep and hope your subconscious will remember the lectures and pop those answers into your mind.

There Are Exceptions to Exceptions

We’ve all read books cover to cover in one sitting. Other times it might take a week to finish one.



Tom Egelhoff

Top Writer on Government, Entrepreneur, Radio Talk Show Host, Subscribe to my FREE Small Town Business Newsletter on Substack