Using actions and batch edit in photoshop can speed up any regular tasks that you perform. First I will show you how to create a action, the next tutorial will show you how to use batch edit.
I always run all my pictures through auto-levels, which can be time consuming. So I created an action that does it for me. Actions can have as many steps as you would like. This is a simple action so it will only have a few. First, find your actions pallete:
You can see that I have two folders organizing my actions. The first, Default Actions, came with photoshop. The second, My Actions, I created by clicking on the folder icon at the bottom of the palette. I have made several actions for different photo effects I use. To make a new action click on the "create a new action" icon to the right of the folder icon.
This will prompt you with a New Action window. You can title your action here, and the "set" option lets you choose the folder. Then hit "record".
You are now recording, and anything you do in photoshop will be recorded in this action. You can watch your progress in the actions palette underneath the title of your action. This action only has one step. Once I do the auto levels (Image -> Adjustments -> Levels, then click "auto"), it records my step. Then click the square "stop" button on the bottom of the palette. Your action is finished. If you ever want to run your action, just highlight the title and click the triangle "play" button and it will run through all the steps.