FWIW I don't rely on memory very much at all with these puzzles. I know it's the key to getting a good score, digesting the clues into either the grid outright and checking them off, or somehow filing the clues away in memory so to make further conclusions after things start coming together...
I don't play for time that way. We may both be out of luck if trying to get the best time scores. Instead, it's as you say... fill the grid from the clues, scan for patterns, back to the remaining clues... as needed until complete.
I've enjoyed learning the techniques required to solve any puzzle. Be patient with yourself and remember it's all for fun!