I don't think I have many shortcuts anymore. I like the ritualization of the hookah smoking.
I pack my bowl and place the foil on top. Poke holes while the vase is filling up with water in the sink. If I am using naturals, I start those before anything and if I am using quicklights, I light them after everything else is done. Then to play the waiting game while I make sure it is glowing red before dropping on my phunnel.