Or, in Heisig-speak: 賀
I "finished" about one week ago. That is, added the last Kanji flashcard of RTK1. I don't consider really being done until all the flashcards are in the last box, and of course there's still so much to do after that. But already I see the huge benefits of being familiar with the Kanji. What was a wall of alien characters before now has some meaning, and although my vocabulary is still limited, I can work my way through texts fairly effectively. In fact, that is what I'm focusing on now, reading and adding any words I don't know into Mnemosyne flashcards. I think I will start on RTK2 as soon as I have 75% of the kanji in the last box. At the moment it's 1200, with the other cards spread out (most in box 3 and 4).
Since I started on 13 may, I have finished the RTK1 in around 2 months, which is what I had planned for it. When I first found out about Heisig I read alot about it, the pros and cons. Both had outspoken opinions, but the method seemed intriguing enough that I decided I just had to try it, and I didn't regret it one moment. I used this site from the very start and there's no doubt it helped me immensely to keep track of my progress and systematize my learning.
When I just started, I did around 30 Kanji a day, first studying them in the book and drawing them on paper as I went through the story in my head. When that was done I'd add them to the site and do a review. I'd look over the ones I missed quickly, and leave them until the next day. First thing I did then was to check if I could write them then, if so, I'd mark them as learned, if not, I'd leave them for another day and look at them again at the end of the day. Next thing on the schedule was reviews. I made sure I always cleared all the expired cards on the day they expired. I think in these two months I have only missed one day not doing anything. In the beginning I used to clear the cards per stack. But later, I realized mixing cards up from all expired stacks would make things more difficult for myself and thus a better test, so I just lumped everything together while reviewing. This was possible because I did it everyday, mind. Otherwise you'd get huge amounts to review very fast.
Anyway I kept the 30 a day up for a while, but college was still going on. When I had to start making up stories by myself the pace slowly dropped to 20, or 10-15 on very slow days. This continued untill the end of june, I think I was at around 1200-1300 by that point. Then my holiday started and I decided to pick up the pace and finish it. So I started doing 50-60 kanji a day, in chunks of 20-30. I found it effective to study 20-30, review them, have a break, and come back later to do more. If I tried more than 20-30 new kanjis at a time, my retention for the first review fell pretty badly.
The most difficult for me were the 3-day after reviews. That's really the turning point on whether a kanji has sticked and can go on into long term memory or has faded. Those reviews took the longest for me as I often had to think hard to remember some kanjis. Still, I usually got around 80-85% on the 3 day reviews. From the one week after reviews on I rarely had trouble with the kanjis. I'd forget the odd one or confuse some when I learned similar keywords, but from that point on retention is as much as 95% for me.
So looking back on these months I'm very happy with the progress I made. I think I spent on average 2-3 hours a day working on Heisig. Daily repetition really is key to finishing fast and thoroughly.