Some do soak, I suspect most don't...including me...tried it in my earlier years and found no reason to continue after doing dozens of smokes without soaking. The onset of "smoke" is actually water vapor flashing out of the wood..that's the white steam you see every time wood first starts to give off anything. Once that is gone, the real smoke starts. Soaking for a really long time (days to weeks) will get water to penetrate the wood (I forget) maybe 1/8" (or less)...all soaking really does is increase the vapor phase and delay the on onset of smoke. Some people swear by soaking, claiming the y get better control of the smoke, less flare-ups of smoke wood, etc. Maybe they lack an understanding of what makes smoke and how to control it. It's just a balance of heat and air getting to the smoke wood...get them bot right and you have a long, light smoke. By "right", I actually mean right for a light smoke...I do use a heavy smoke for some applications, and sometimes just at the start of a smoke, for say the first hour on a 18hr smoke.
I know what you mean about long work weeks...I push 60-70hrs/week myself. It makes it tough to do long smokes and get anything else done when you need to run errands and be gone for 1/2 the day at a time. The shorter smokes and especially the reverse sear are a great way to break things up and still some get good grub out of the deal. Saving time is a big plus for long work weeks. Reverse sear allows me to get the best of both worlds (smoke and char-grilled) in 1-2 hours, typically. And it's the families favorite way to eat smaller cuts of beef and pork, as well as chicken pieces/quarters.
So, with time being so valuable, but good eats being a priority, I do recommend reverse sear...gets it done in far less time, and the flavor is actually preferable by many over straight-smoked meats.
Hmm, and this coming from me when I'm thawing a 10lb picnic shoulder to toss in the smoke for pulled pork this weekend while I'm actually off work for the weekend...ha-ha-ha! Two weeks ago I did a reverse sear on boneless skinless chicken thighs...seared over mesquite lump. So I do mix things up a bit now and then...just me.