Here's a real timesaving tip: If you're making a stew, soup, braise, etc., that calls for thyme & you're using fresh - don't bother stripping the leaves off the stems unless the sprigs are very small/short.
I made a wonderful New Year's Day "Cassoulet" (leftover Xmas roast goose, turkey bacon, turkey kielbasa, wine-poached chicken breast, white beans, etc., etc.) that called for both thyme & bay leaves. It occurred to me that since I was going to have to fish out the bay leaves anyway, I might as well search for the thyme sprigs as well - lol!! I also hate making up little cheesecloth herb bags or tying stuff together if I don't have to.
Tossed the bay leaves & whole thyme sprigs into the simmering white beans, & when they were done, it was easy as pie to find & remove not only the bay leaves, but the thyme sprigs, which were, by this time, completely devoid of all their leaves. All that remained were the now-skeletal stems. It worked great - the beans were nicely well-scented with both the bay & with the thyme, & there wasn't a stray stem in the entire dish.