As many answers already pointed out, academic progress is slow. Changes in comprehensive rankings will take their time. I assume this is the reason why people say that a person in academia must endure frustration and have tons of patience. On the other hand, humans seem to usually need a much more frequent feedback in order to actually motivate yourself.
I find one little trick particularly helpful: find colleagues that work on closely related topics. Share information and work together on the same project. Seeing someone else having success on his or her share of the work will surely make you want to contribute as well (if not more). I must admit, that this will only work, if everyone involved aims toward the success of the project. There are various ways of measuring, publishing, and rewarding progress in this case: the tool can be as simple as a progress bar on an intranet's webpage that steps along as milestones are reached, money for visiting a conference on the condition of a publication, or the already mentioned Trello board that just visualizes how the contributions of different people in your group help a project advance.
Sharing information in a small study or work group breaks down the long-term progress into the small steps that academia actually enforces: idea, thinking, trial, and finally success or failure. Adding discussion at any state of this progress will help to uncover misunderstandings and sure failures faster than if you would work on your own. Linearizing your thoughts to actually tell them so someone enforces a clear picture in your head, again ruling out possibly overlooked details.
Furthermore, swapping ideas will help everyone in your group gain insight and see the same world with different eyes. To every topic (how old and worn out it may be) there is a perspective or context that has not been considered yet. Finding out about these is something I found particularly motivating during my time of study. Keeping the discussion with colleagues and friends alive will surely help you with this.
My approach to answer your question is: choose a method of feedback that suits you and try to shorten the intervals. The method of feedback does not matter as much as the time you have to spend without.
Lastly, a small excursus: We have some source code for numerical computations that we share among the PhDs in our work group. It is always a bit frustrating to find oneself spending hours of debugging someone else's mess.. Recently, we started offering bounties (you know those coconut-chocolate-bars?) for bugs someone would find in someone else's source code. Now one has one more reason to watch out bugs on your own (to avoid spending a "bounty"). Moreover, the frustration is somewhat mitigated in case a bug is found since one receives a (small) compensation.