Answer to you first question is simple, be organized, precise and exact.
It is crucial to remember, you can achieve the same goal unlimited number of ways, when you ask Allah (swt) for something, do you know how many ways that something can be achieved? When you ask for a million dollars, how many ways can that goal be achieved? In how many different time frames?
The secret to success in this life is simple, knowledge. Knowledge of what you want, and knowledge of the paths that can take you to what you want. If you are not specific, then Allah (swt) will choose for you a path, and then you change your mind, then you get confused, and in the end you fail to achieve your goal.
One of the best prayers:
"Allahumma Rabbana Atina fid-dunya hasanatan wafil- Akhirati hasanatan waqina athaban nar."
"Oh Allah, our Lord, give us all the good of this world, and the good of the life hereafter, and save us from the punishment of the hell-fire."
In this prayer you leave it with Allah (swt), put your trust in Allah (swt) and let thy decide the best path for you, a path that will give you best in this life and in Akhira.
Some people ask for specific things in this life, destroying their prospects in Akhira (knowingly or not knowingly), there are many verses in Quran about those people, so please don't be one of those people.