Being a stay at home Father, running a business and taking care of a 2 year old and a 5 year old while my wife is away in Iraq, really doesn't leave me much time to brew beer. So I've come up with a few different ways to cut back on the amount of time it takes to brew beer.
The first method is what I call the No Chill method. It's very simple and can cut out at least a half hour of your time from brew day. And it's a technique that I've been doing for more than a year. The No Chill method is adding the hot wort to your fermenting bucket (being careful not to splash too much) and then adding your cold water to it to top it up to 5 gallons, snapping on the lid and leaving it sit over night to chill down and then in the morning pitching your yeast.
One good thing about this method is that if you don't practice sanitation, then usually the wort gets chilled down to about 160 degrees and that's the temperature for pasteurization. Now I'm not saying that pasteurization kills all bad bugs, because it doesn't but it does kill enough of them to prevent infection of the wort.
A lot of literature out there recommends that you chill as fast as possible and then pitch your yeast. That is an option, however, if you're looking at shaving off some time to your brew day, give the No Chill method a try. You may not get the cold break you normally get when you do a fast chill, but I've found that that doesn't matter because once you bottle and keg, the cold break drops out anyway. If anyone has more questions please feel free to leave them in the comment area.