You're raring to bake cookies, only to realize you forgot to set the butter out to soften. It's still in the refrigerator, but you want to bake now. But, you know that nuking it in the microwave can result in melted butter, not softened butter, if you're not careful. What to do?
Trying cutting the cold sticks of butter into cubes or smaller pieces. This will expose more surface area to the air and will speed up the softening time - go with 1/2" cubes and it could be as few as 15 minutes. That would give you just enough time to gather up the rest of your ingredients and utensils and get the oven preheated.