Are you aware of the local geography where your ancestor lived? Having access to maps is a great help, but having a certain amount of information “in your head” can save time.
For your city ancestors do you know the “name of the neighborhood” (if there was one)? Do you know names of nearby neighborhoods and towns? How close did your family live to the line that divided one city from another?
For rural ancestors the same thing applies? What were the names of adjacent townships? How close were they to the county line? Did they live in a part of the county that had a nickname (perhaps based upon where most residents were originally from)?
Failing to know some local geography may cause you to look in the wrong place for your relative.