If you set up a race, either against other characters or against time, make sure the heroes know it's a race. Start a huge timer with glowing red LED display or something. Impressing some form of urgency on them might just get them to go through the procedure of gearing up and then arguing over what to do first a little quicker.
Ah, no, who are we kidding?
Lieutenant Venka: Admiral?
Admiral Piett: Did you know that, on average, eight beings on this ship are murdered every day?
Lieutenant Venka: Um, yes, sir.
Admiral Piett: Today could be a bad day.
Darth Vader: I suppose you're all wondering why I summoned you here today.
Darth Vader: One of you is a murderer.
Darth Vader: That person I will reward greatly.
Darth Vader: I refer to the future murder of the Jedi Knight, Luke Starkiller.
Boba Fett: Got any leads?
Darth Vader: He is currently on a swamp planet, with the former Jedi Master Yoda.
Bossk: Which sssswamp planet?
Darth Vader: Your time starts... now.