We're big believers in letting machines do the heavy lifting for you, not just with power tools, but with computational tasks as well. Any time you don't have to spend thinking about busywork is more time you can spend on designing.
Furniture makers, shop guys and students should dig Cutlist Generator, a program (written way back in the '90s, and tweaked up to present day) that figures out how to squeeze the most from your wood stock. Punch in the dimensions of the pieces you need, the width of your saw blade and the minimum amount of waste you can tolerate, and the program spits out the most efficient cutlist. It will even put priority on crosscutting or ripping, depending on your setup. Best of all, it's free!