The point of eating food is not simply to get full. The point of learning a language is not simply to memorize a really big vocabulary, or even to get good at the language.
Well, unfortunately, it is for most people. But there’s a Japanese aphorism (don’t act like you didn’t see that coming) that perfectly encapsulates the optimal behavior path in this situation:
If you’re in a rush, take the scenic route.
Getting good is good. Those things are all good. It’s nice to be full and it’s nice to have a big vocabulary. It’s just that you’re more likely to eat more if you focus more or less totally on making and procuring tasty food than “efficient”, “filling” food. Similarly, if you focus just about exclusively on having fun through the language, while you still suck, while you’re not full yet, you’ll naturally “eat” more of it, and eat more often, and naturally get “fuller” faster.
Sure, you could simply bloat yourself with water, vitamin pills and rice or Calorie Mate (another Japanese thing) and call it a day. And that would get you full and it would be fast. And sad and depressing. So much so that you’d probably just go hungry most of the time. And yet, this is exactly how most smart, diligent, conscientious people approach languages — vocabulary lists, classes, boring words first and last…anything but something real and funny. And they, too, metaphorically starve to death.
If you’re in a rush, take the scenic route. Have fun at now, not later — there won’t be a later with that kind of suffering — one tasty bite or footstep at a time.