After technical preparation is done (tracks sorted and grouped, colour coded, phase checked, submixes created etc.) the next thing for me is to create a rough mix. I begin with all faders down and then start to introduce elements. I try to find a balance between drums and lead vocal first (this might seem strange but works well for me). Then I introduce bass and main harmonic instruments. Sometimes the order can change, but I found that soloing drums and vocals and giving yourself some time to explore their relationships in isolation from other elements can be useful.
I try not to use any processing during the rough mix stage, but sometimes some eq is required to establish a proper balance. For example if kick drum lack the low end and have too much energy in 200-300Hz I will fix this.
I think that you should really invest a good amount of time to work on a rough mix just moving faders, pans, and fixing obvious problems with EQ.
After the rough mix is done I try different things on a mix bus. Usually this involves compression, usual "happy face" EQ (light boost on 60Hz and 10-16kHz) and tape emulation.
Then there I start more detailed work, adding samples if needed, effects, compressing individual tracks etc.