Place any ingredients that need to be fried or sautéed in your saucepan along with oil or butter (unless the ingredients you intend to fry are already greasy, such as many meats). For example, if you are making a slightly spicy kale and sausage soup with tomatoes and potatoes, put the sausage chunks in the saucepan along with sliced onions and chopped garlic.
Add about half of the spices from the recipe to the saucepan to flavor the items you are sauteing. Continuing with the kale and sausage soup example, you might sprinkle the sausage, onions and garlic with salt, pepper and chili flakes.
Fry or sauté the ingredients in your saucepan until they are done. Any meats should be completely cooked and browned on the outside, onions should be translucent, and garlic should be soft and slightly browned.
Add your wet ingredients (water or broth, for example) to the saucepan along with any ingredients that need to cook for a comparatively long time (such as pasta or vegetables that need to soften) and the rest of your herbs or spices. For the sausage and kale soup, you would add broth, kale and potato chunks to the saucepan containing the sausage, onions and garlic. Cook the new items in the saucepan until they are nearly done.
Put any final ingredients that do not need to cook for long (if at all) into the saucepan. This might be a delicate item such as diced tomatoes. If you had added them when you added the potatoes, they would have completely disintegrated by the time the potatoes became tender. This is a matter of taste, of course; if you want the tomatoes to blend into the soup, there is no problem with adding them sooner.