I cut the butter into pats, since it makes it faster to soften to room temperature and easier to add to the dough.
I found it easier to use chilled cheese for the toppings, especially if the weather is hot. Additionally, I chill the topping while waiting for the dough to rise.
To avoid lumps in the topping, I very briefly ran it through a blender before putting it in the fridge. This makes it easier for the topping to cling to the bread instead of dropping off in clumps.