If Heisig works better for you, that’s totally fine. He does advocate learning all the meanings before learning readings as a way to quickly learn kanji. I believe he says essentially what you did — that it’s too much to try to learn everything at once.
However, I tried that method, but for me I felt like it didn’t work because I was learning kanji in English when it’s not a writing system for English. I was missing the nuance of the Japanese meanings of the kanji, which you learn by learning words they’re used in and seeing them in context. So I came away from months of studying still completely unable to read (and I remain that way today haha). I find I fundamentally disagree with Heisig’s argument for this reason. I believe kanji should be learned in Japanese as much as possible, not in English.
I started wanikani about a month ago and I’m finally, FINALLY feeling like I’m getting somewhere. I’m recognizing some kanji I see, and not only understanding their meanings but reading the words. For instance, I knew the words 外 (そと, outside) and 外れ (はずれ, extremity or ‘miss’), but had no idea they used the same kanji. When I learned that kanji and then associated it with those words, as well as words like 外人 (がいじん, foreigner), which I already knew, I gained a deeper understanding of what that kanji really means in Japanese than I would have had if I only knew an English translation for that kanji as “outside.”
My situation may be very different from yours, though, so just take my experience for what it is. I have about an intermediate to upper-intermediate speaking level (despite being illiterate), so once I learn a kanji, I immediately recognize its Japanese meanings and associations because I know them already, if that makes sense. As a beginner, I don’t know if this would have worked as well or not.