Over on The Tao of D&D Alexis has made this post about the allocation of energy, time, etc in relation to the things you do in your life. He also mentions that finding time for something requires taking time from somewhere else. All of this makes sense, but he neglects to mention that all of us have in every day what I like to call Dead Time.
Dead Time is when you are doing something necessary, that only requires part of your attention (driving a car, cooking food etc) or requires none of your attention (sitting in a waiting room). This time is being spent, but not very profitably. And the best way to make your sacrifices is, in my opinion, to make them during this time.
So, on to question number 2 : Name 5 sacrifices that you would be willing to make to gain any of those skills.
1 - Spend the first 10 minutes of my 45 minute drive to/from work practicing the delivery of scenes, descriptions and anything else that requires a verbal delivery.
Normally, my drive to work is spent either thinking about what I need to do when I get there, what I am going to do when I leave, or singing along to the radio. I also plan my Pathfinder campaign as I drive but I do not intend to reduce the amount I do that. Instead, I will reduce the amount of time I spend singing and day dreaming, the two parts of my drive that are there only to fill the time. How I will do this is to think up a scene/atmosphere or what have you and describe it. Then pick apart what I didn't like about the description, asking why I didn't like it. Narrow it down to tone, word choice, delivery speed etc, then try again. Next time I do my drive I think up a different scene and repeat. In this way I get 20 minutes a day 5 days a week of practice, without really sacrificing anything overly important.
2 - Be more open about my past times with others.
This one is aimed at recruiting more players. Many times when asked "what are you doing for the weekend" I reply with a "not much" or a "nothing important" or I say something else to that effect and shrug off the question. Instead, I will make the effort to say "Playing Pathfinder". That's it. I won't start describing what it is. I won't bang them on the head with how fun it is. I will simply put it out there as if it were any other socially acceptable hobby. If they bite, then I will follow with short, simply answered and description to questions. And no war stories. Eventually, I will end up having a new player.
3 - The inner peace of never pulling the trigger
This is a sacrifice I need to make. As a new DM I have yet to kill a PC. Not that I should go out of my way to do it, its just that not killing the PC is much easier, much less gut wrenching. Having been unable to pull the trigger on a grand total of 3 occasions, all with the same PC doing something reckless that should have got him killed. This will stop the PCs from becoming complacent. It will also make me more comfortable with front loading encounters. Making them extremely dangerous in round one will make the rest of it seem threatening, and more exciting. It doesn't matter if the combat only lasts 3 rounds because the NPCs have very little health. It does matter that the PCs are glad its over because of how worried they are about the NPCs getting in another round of massive damage,
4 - Get out of bed on Saturdays when I wake up, not an hour later
I think everyone wakes up on the weekend and lays there struggling with the though of getting out of bed. I know I do. So I will make the sacrifice of getting out of bed on a Saturday, no more than 20 minutes after I wake up. I will then spend this time on my laptop mapping terrain and improving my skills in that regard.
5 - Be prepared to have my players dislike me for a moment.
This one comes down to needing to be the bad guy sometimes, and not as an NPC. Telling the players to only have the necessary dice out, and not a giant bowl of them. Telling them to not dig out a new D20 for every roll. Telling them to pay attention and put the phone down during game play. Basically taking responsibility for the environment that I am trying to create.
Those are my 5 sacrifices, none of them are big, but they are all actionable, and all manageable. It is better to be able to do something, than to talk about something while doing nothing.