A thing many astronomy enthusiasts like me suffer from is limited time because the next day kids and wife are present early in the morning . Also being too tired at work without that you can blame your kids or a noisy neighbor simply doesn’t do well .
Therefore it is always a good idea to polar align with a tool and to make a wish list on forehand with what you are going to look for, as browsing the sky is complicated and has a learning curve . Also many times things you want to look at are simply too low in the sky as houses and trees are in your way.
Also verifying your pictures that what you shot is also what you aimed for is a good thing to do astronomy.net is your friend in this case .
On a summer day I managed to polar align very well , and suddenly I was able to find everything very well and very fast and there it was the M31 galaxy.
Unfortunately I didn’t take too many pictures as I had more things to navigate and it was getting late .