One way to boost your editing speed is to use keyboard shortcuts. There are a wide range available.
The letters, "J", "K" and "L" double as transport controls:
"J" - play backwards
"K" - pause
"L" - play forwards
You may download Essential Premiere Pro Shortcuts at Adobe's Genesis Project. While the document specifically references Premiere Pro CS3, many if not all of the the shortcuts will work in previous versions of Premiere and Premiere Pro.