I’ve been learning Italian on and off for the past few months now. Things started off strong, but as is always the case, life got in the way. The holidays came around and there was a lot of other work to do.
Despite this, I still progressed quickly to quasi-conversational level. I owe a lot of this progress to systematically approaching the language from a differently, instead focusing first on the sounds and how to speak them. This meant that I spent my practice either listening or speaking to native speakers from a swath of resources. The most important parts of this process involved meeting and talking to as many native speakers as possible.
But I found that it’s not enough to simply be efficient. I found that the best way to maximize the fruits of my labor was to go back and review my mistakes often.