Of course, the first order of business is to decide perhaps a couple of days in advance what kind of meat you want to cook. But here is what I will often do since I am great at money management, but not great at deciding what I am cooking from day to day.
Naturally, even if you put meat in the refrigerator, it may not be totally thawed by the time you want to cook it up.
Pick out a meat. Run cold water over the package for at least 15-20 minutes. This gets the thawing process started. Then place the meat in the refrigerator. If you have a thawing drawer, use this, as the temperature is usually slightly warmer than the rest of the refrigerator. Let the meat thaw overnight. If the meat is still semi-frozen the next day, run it under cold water before preparing for another 10-15 minutes. This should leave you with a well thawed piece of meat to work with.
In the worst case scenario, you can also, after the final cold water thawing, toss it into the microwave for 7-10 minutes on 30% power, and this will get you to where you want to be.
When it comes to thawing in a hurry, I usually will put the meat package in the sink and cold water thaw for about 15-20 minutes. Then I will completely dry the package. This is critical. Place the package in the microwave for another 10 minutes or so on 30% power, and the meat should be thawed, and not cooked. Depending on the size of the meat package you may need more or less time.
I generally do not like to thaw meat entirely in the microwave, since even at 30% the edges usually begin to cook, and this can actually toughen the meat, or cause it to be cooked unevenly once you actually place it into the pan, onto the grill, or wherever else you might be cooking it.