The main reason I scrunch with the paper towels after I apply product, is because you're obviously absorbing the moisture with the them, and I like to put products on my hair when it's wet because I get better clumping and less frizz than if I put them of after I've scrunched with the paper towels. Does that make sense?
And I was about to recommend what unique just said regarding the clips. That's what I do and it helps give me lift at the roots. I just put those small silver duckbill clips (about 10 or so) at the roots, and leave them there while my hair is airdrying. It really helps!
I must say though, that yes, airdrying does take a long time, but my hair looks so much better when I let it airdry all the way instead of diffusing some. For example today, I washed my hair at 11 this morning, and it's almost 8pm here now and my hair is finally completely dry. When I checked at 7pm, it was still damp in many parts.