Patience Is a Virtue
This is a good time to evaluate your level of patience. Are you content to wait it out, to go with the flow? Can you hold back for a while but run out of patience before too long? Is instant gratification just too slow? Luckily, there are soapmaking techniques for every patience level.
The quickest is the soap-casting technique. You can create a pretty bar with great color and fragrance and use it within the hour. Cut, melt, add color and fragrance, pour into a mold, let harden, pop out, and head to the shower!
Next are the hot-process techniques. They can be labor-intensive, and some take the better part of a day. However, since you cook the soap until it is neutral, you can use it right away. This includes hot-process transparent and liquid soaps. There are benefits to waiting a bit longer with these techniques, but you can use them as soon as they're cool.
Staggering your soapmaking projects according to creation time is a great way to keep yourself busy while you wait for the cold-process batch to cure. Many soapers have added other techniques to their repertoire out of sheer desperation to have something tangible to use and admire while waiting for other batches to cure.
A somewhat longer process, due to drying time, is hand milling. The soap is already neutral when you start creating with it, so you can even just press some together with a little moisture and have a bar of soap! But if you do the whole process, which can take a few hours or more, you'll need to let the liquid you've added to make the soap mixable evaporate before the bars are hardened.
The longest wait is for cold-process soap. It takes a while to cure and become neutral enough to use. Cold-process soap is ready at about four weeks after pouring. During the time between pouring and use, it becomes milder as the saponification continues. It also becomes harder as the extra water evaporates.