At the beginning I translated example sentences I was given very literally in my head whenever I could, then converted to more natural English. For example…
さとしさんとまりさんはお茶を飲みました。–> Satoshi and Mary [as for] tea [d.o.] drank. —> [As for] Satoshi and Mary [they] drank tea.
猫は学校に行きました. [As for] the cat to the school went. ----> The cat went to the school.
お母さんにせーたーをもらいました。[From] mom a sweater I took. —> I got [myself] a sweater from mom.
For me it helped adapt my understanding to the order of information as I was given it, and helped me understand how to replicate similar sentences. A “simple” English sentence structure is equivalent to a slightly different Japanese sentence structure. Eventually I didn’t need to translate like this anymore, because I understood what relationships the particles stood for in the order they were given.
You’re going to be asking yourself questions in a different order as you hear a sentence:
From whom/what? To whom/what?
Whereas in English, the order of your questions is, WHO? DOES WHAT? FROM WHOM/TO WHOM?
The English order may be more natural to you, but in the end all the same relationships get conveyed. You just have to expect a different logical flow.