Yes, the fastest way is the way you are doing it, I like your method... And it may sound like I'm being a smartass but I'm not, there is simply no other way to do leaves other than getting in there and doing them, there might be a better way but with leaves the hard way is the easy way, only over the years do we get the experience we need to get it done even faster but it just takes time...
So learn from it, best you can.
It will help you next year.
And the year after, and so on.
That's been my experience.