One of the first things to keep in mind is that less is more. So do not overwhelm yourself with long lists of vocabulary, many sheets of grammar or long hours of study. It is much better to work at learning a few words or concepts at any one time. Additionally, keep your study sessions short. I often tell my students that 5-10 minutes are enough if done regularly.
Let us look at some practical examples:
- If you are studying assigned words then choose the five most important ones and that will be your quota for the session.
- If you are studying grammar (at any proficiency level) then focus on one concept only. So for example, if you are a beginner learning to use the attached pronoun my then that is your quota for the session.
- If you are looking at verbs. Then first break up the task by either focusing on pure grammatical conjugations or meaning.
a) If you are learning meanings, then take on only what you can chew and stick with the five-word quota.
b) If you are studying conjugations then DO NOT attempt to learn all conjugations in one sitting. Focus on two at most. Do either the present and past tenses that correspond to a single pronoun or study two pronouns in a single tense.
The second thing to keep in mind is that we all learn differently. Always bear in mind that what works for other people will not necessarily work for you and that this applies to both the technique and pace of learning.
In terms of technique: think about how you learn other things best and then apply that technique to your quota. For example, rote memorization does not work for me. I find that I remember best if pin the words up where I can see them constantly without having to actively study them.
In terms of pace: there is no speed limit associated with learning language. You can go as fast or as slow as you need to in order to succeed. You alone can be the judge of this aspect. Do not feel bad if you are slower than someone else is and do not get overly excited if you are better than someone else is. The question you should always ask yourself is: did I do everything I needed to, to get this far? If the answer is , yes, then the time you took to acquire what you did, is your pace.