With gel manicures & pedicures, most manufacturers & training recommend applying gel to the nail when dry to avoid shrinkage and lifting.
Therefore carry out your gel prep first, apply gel and THEN carry out other treatments such as soaking, exfoliation, heated mask, hard skin removal etc afterwards. Your overall time will be the same so no issue there.
Of course there will be that client who changes their mind at the end of the service and wants gel rather than normal polish! In this scenario, finish off everything that involves creams and then double scrub the nail with Scrubfresh or similar, to remove all oils from the surface before application.