I need help with the metronome. I really don't get how to use the thing. I mean I understand what you're supposed to do (16 notes=4 notes per click, whole notes=1 note per beat and so on and so fouth) but I have trouble getting "tuned" into the beat. Lets say I'm playing a basic cromatic scale, I'll be playing and trying to get into the beat (I usually wear headphones when I"m trying to practice witht he clicker), I nod my head, tap my foot, but no matter what I do, I'm always playing above or below tempo.

Then after a while I just stop paying attention to the metronome as I'm playing and trying to count out how many notes I played between clicks and I miss like 5 clicks just trying to make sure I played the ammount of notes I needed to play between clicks. It's like I'm so focused on playing the scale that I have trouble counting the notes I play, or the reverse I'm so focused on the metronome that I end up playing the scale below tempo. I don't even know when I'm on tempo half the time, there is no voice that goes "Eureka! You're on tempo!" when you play on Tempo or anything, so even if I do get it right I still am adjusting myself.

And this is just basic, 1-2-3-4 chromatics. I dont' even want to think about working on a song where the rhythm changes (By that I mean anything that's not stright quarter, half, sixteeth, ect notes) or anything where the notes per string are uneven (I.E. any scale on the face of the planet. That's a nightmare for counting)

So, what do I do? Will I eventually get it with practice? Or do I have to sleep with that thing clicking in my ear all night before I get it? I know this is really simple for everyone and I'm probably making it too complicated, but it's really giving me trouble. I constatly read about how Metronomes are so important and it's discouraging to have so much trouble with such a simple aspect of practice.

Please help, I know there are other topics on using a metronome but they don't really address any of my issues.
I recommend ONLY tapping your foot to the metronome, nothing else. Once you have the beat, and you keep it exactly with the metronome, it should be easier.

Play only on the click, for now. Wait until your timing and rhythm is better before doing eighth and sixteenth notes.

Lastly, this may just be a typo, but whole notes are four clicks, not one. They take up the WHOLE measure.
Rhythym is really something you have to feel when you're playing and you really
can't concentrate on both that and where your fingers are supposed to go at the
same time. So, when learning fingering ALWAYS learn the fingering first without
the metronome. Get it into muscle memory in the most relaxed way.

For metronome practice, it can be helpful to just work with very few or even just
one note to begin with. That way you don't have to think about the fingering.

The counting approach can be very helpfull:

Qtr Notes: ONE-TWO-THREE.....
Eigth Notes: ONE-and-TWO-and-THREE-and.....
Eigth Triplets: ONE-and-ah-TWO-and-ah-THREE-and-ah....
Sixteenths: ONE-er-and-ah-TWO-er-and-ah-THREE-er-and-ah....

Count them out loud. The Number falls on the click of the metronome. Play just
1 note to get the hang of the tempo.