I still hear from many seasoned users that they don’t like the new ribbon interface. One common complaint is that it takes so long to load when you click on a new tab.
The best advice I can offer to the more general issue is to either make the time to learn the ribbon layout, or revert to the more familiar toolbars and drop-down menus. For help with that, you might refer to Rick Ellis’ discussion of the ribbon in Civil 3D.
If you do decide to work with the ribbon, there is something you can do to make the tabs load faster. Whenever you start the software, click on all of the ribbon tabs you plan to use in quick succession, before you actually start working. This loads the panels and icons into the cache, so they load instantaneously when needed. It also gives you an opportunity to study each panel and reinforce where the various tools are located.