Considering that it will speed up all the other steps, I'd say that removing the poopware and otherwise minimizing Startup items is probably #1. That can be done before you even get it online.
Before putting it online, make sure that you've got a firewall turned on; the one in Windows if it didn't come with any security software.
Then I get it online and look for Windows updates. On a laptop, I am a little hesitant about general driver updates, and if it ain't broke, don't try to "fix" it.
Overclocking probably can't be done, and in any case would probably be a bad idea considering the thermal problems that's likely to cause, and reduction in battery life.
I probably don't do a backup until I've made the first pass through everything, as the included system restore disks will suffice until you've made a lot of changes.
1. create the recovery disk
2. Uninstall antirus, free games and trial software
3. run msconfig,
under services tab, check the hide all micrsoft services box. then disable any all other services. Under the startup tab disable everything. and restart
4. update drivers.
5.install favorite AV
6. run a bunch of game benchmarks to report and compare to your desktop.
Everyone I set up computers for?
1. Erase the drive and clean load o/s.
2. Load the newest drivers, preferably from the device manufacturer, not the OEM of the laptop.
3. Load windows updates.
4. Load and configure my standard programs (things like 7zip, foxit reader, trillian etc.)
5. Disable anything that starts up with windows.
Personally I also disable UAC, windows security center messages, action center messages, automatic updates and the recycle bin.