I do a lot of things “wrong” and it works for me
I work on headphones only. Very familiar, very comfortable headphones that I’ve used for years. I make “headphone music” anyway, and the acoustics of the room I have available are pretty poor, so it just makes sense.
My recording process is pretty much as if I’m recording a live show – no stems, no sub-mixes, no pre-effect recordings, etc. just a “final” stereo recording. So all my mixing decisions are part of sound design and composition/improvisation. Every “voice” from the hardware has its own channel for FX, levels, EQ etc. in the DAW. I have a general “not too quiet, but don’t clip” goal for the recording process itself. During that stage I like Toneboosters Barricade (limiter/compressor) and Toneboosters EQ (which can do dynamic EQ and/or mid/side and has nice spectrum visualization).
I do my editing on that stereo recording in Sound Forge Pro 10, rather than a DAW. It’s good for visualizing levels, and has some really nice tools for dynamics and EQ that I’ve been working with for a while and am quite comfortable with.
My first editing pass isn’t too strenuous – “top and tail” (start and end of the track) and some general “get the levels approximately right-ish” work. I save the heavy stuff for after I’ve listened with fresh ears, and decided whether the track is a keeper.
When mastering, I always try a couple of favorite presets in u-he Presswerk for “glue” and bringing out subtle details, more so than getting levels just so. About 60% of the time, one of them will makes the whole track sound a little better. Other than that I stick with Sound Forge’s own tools, and have a goal around -14dB LUFS with a max peak of -1dB.