This is going to be no help at all, but all the advice I ever heard for loading a pipe didn't help me at all. There are various techniques, and they all work, but the key to success is just plain old experience. Once you develop a feel for the tobacco, it'll be something you can do mindlessly. Until you reach that point, it'll be a pain. The only advice I can use with your technique is to test the draw at each step, realizing that the early steps should be rather light on the draw, with a more solid draw progressively with each level.
And quit 'cleaning the ash off the top'; it's unnecessary and usually detrimental to the smoking experience. Unless you're trying to relight a bowl and just can't get the flame to the tobacco through the ash, it's unnecessary.