Although System 7 operates a little faster than System 6 in some cases, many find that it feels slower, especially in the Finder. Here are a few ways to increase your Mac's reaction time (playing video games on your Mac can help its eye/hand coordination too).
Shape up your hard disk
(1) Check your hard disk's interleave and reformat if necessary using appropriate formatting software. Contact the company that made your hard disk for the optimal interleave for your specific setup.
(2) Backup, reformat, and restore your hard disk to remove file fragmentation. If you have one, an optimization program does the same thing much more easily, but make sure you have a backup first.
Free up RAM
(3) Turn off Filesharing when you don't need it, since it slows down the Mac and uses several hundred K of RAM.
(4) Turn off Background Printing, although this will slow down your work by making you wait for the printer. Background Printing uses more RAM than may be available on a 2 or 2.5 MB machine with an application open.
(5) Boost the disk cache up to 256K if you have the memory. More than that isn't usually worth it. On a 2 or 2.5 MB machine, even 256K may not be worth it.
Monitor your screen display
(6) Keep bitmaps installed for commonly used fonts. Screen display slows down while TrueType scales fonts for the screen.
(7) Use the Views Control Panel to turn off "Calculate folder sizes." Also use Views to set the font to Geneva 9 point, choose the smallest icon size, and show as few of the Show size/ kind/ label/ date/ version/ comments goodies as possible.
(8) Set the Window color in the Color Control Panel to Black & White (this removes your 3D scroll bars).
(9) Switch your monitor to 16 or fewer colors in the Monitors Control Panel.
(10) Eliminate the Finder's zoom rectangles (see TidBITS-099/ Finder_Fun).
(11) And finally, install Apple's System 7 Tune-Up. Apple recommends that all System 7.0.x users install System 7 Tune-Up to increase the speed of some Finder copies and to cut down on low memory situations. Perhaps the most noticeable benefit from the System 7 Tune-Up is that printing from the StyleWriter is significantly faster.