In chess, a player is more successful if they are able to use their knowledge optimally rather than a person who might know more. It has more to do with recognizing patterns on board rather than knowing tonnes of them. That doesn’t mean I am against learning more patterns, it’s more a case of applying what you do know when a pattern arises.
How can someone become good at recognizing patterns?
Here is an answer.
Besides that I would like to add a few points:
I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.
You should practice a pattern a lot in its basic form. It is more beneficial to do one or two move combinations on a daily basis rather than doing complicated ones. This was suggested by Dan Heisman in his Novice Nook column at chesscafe.com, and although it was for improving tactical skills I believe it can be applied at other areas too.
Give yourself some breaks on regular basis to digest acquired information/knowledge before moving on to the next one. It is also useful for keeping you interested in chess.
Try to organise acquired information in blocks. You can find some examples on the same theme in Capablanca’s Chess Fundamentals and also Silman’s Complete Endgame Course. Another good try can be seen in Chess Tactics From Scratch by Martin Weteschnik. Perhaps organising acquired information in blocks is the essence of recognizing patterns.