A former colleague of mine introduced me to the ingenious invention: Phase Separators. This is a big help in the lab and really saves me a lot of time, particularly with qualitative work. A Phase Separator is essentially a piece of filter paper that has been treated with silicone. If you fold it up and stick it in a funnel and pour a mix of organic solvent and water on it it will only let the organic solvent pour through. It only works well with solvents more dense than water, typically dichloromethane or chloroform. They are best employed for qualitative work where all that's required is a quick NMR to determine a ratio between isomers, whether a reaction is finished etc. For this type of work I basically transfer my reaction to a separation funnel with dichloromethane and wash it with appropriate aqueous phases. After the final wash the whole thing is poured directly into a Phase Separator, the organic phase is collected in a round bottom flask and concentrated in vacuo. I never observe any residual water in my NMR spectra so drying the organic solvent is unnecessary. D!