Realize that you don't have to actually solve the cross until the very last move, when you can align the layer.
Hold your cube yellow on top, orange in front. Preform D2 B2 R' L' U2 F. Say you are solving the cross on white. Instead of matching the cross edges to their respective centers BEFORE swinging them into the cross layer, sometimes it would be much better to, for example, match the cross edges with the OPPOSITE centers, and then do a 180 degree turn of the cross layer at the end to align everything. So, in this example, I'd solve the red cross edge with the orange center with an F', then solve the green cross edge with the blue center with an R, and so on.
The first thing I do in my inspection is decide whether I will be placing cross edges correctly, or oppositely.
Being able to do the cross by solving the edges WITH RESPECT TO EACHOTHER will make solving the cross much faster
Also, watch some of badmephisto's (and others') videos on the cross.