So a bit more than a week in and I've developed a system of navigating the community that works well for me. I wanted to share it with others in case it could prove useful.
What I've done is create a set of browser bookmarks that take me directly to the places I need to get to in the community for different tasks with less clicks and page loads. I believe something similar could be accomplished with following things and managing streams, but this was more intuitive for me. I welcome constructive criticism and suggestions.
Here's what the list looks like, and below I will describe each bookmark and provide a url you can use to create your own bookmark.
#1 Inbox - This is my one-stop shop for notifications. I generally start here when I'm returning from some time away so I can catch up on the things I've missed.
#2 Activity - This is where I go next after catching up on any inbox stuff. I bookmarked the "Most Recent" version of activity because I prefer this list to the Trending list. This is how I find new questions that need answers, new discussions I want to contribute to, and see other interesting things that have happened recently.
#3 Your Content - "Where was that thing I posted?" Need to reference one of your posts or check up on it, this is the place. You can sort by "Authored," "Participated," or "Followed" on the left.
(This url includes a username so I can't provide a generic one. Go to your profile and click on Content to create your own)
#4 Your Places - This is my list of groups joined and other places. It's nice to have it a click away.
(This url includes a username so I can't provide a generic one. Go to your profile and click on More, then click on Places to create your own)
#5 Your Reputation - Maybe it's just me, but I love checking up on my earned points and accomplished missions. This is the place to see it. I bookmarked missions specifically.
(This url includes a username so I can't provide a generic one. Go to your profile and click on More, then click on Reputation to create your own)
#6 Canvas Guides - Need to find a guide for a user or curious what's new in the guides? This is one less click/page load than clicking Answers at the top and then Guides.
#7 Feature Ideas - Need to research if an idea already exists? Need to see what's up for voting or will be up for voting soon? This is the same amount of clicks as using "Ideas" at the top of the community but since I was moving to browser bookmarks for the rest this needed to be included.
#8 Release Notes - Great way to reference the latest notes or get links to provide to others.
#9 Top Known Issues - If this existed in the old community I was oblivious to it. As an admin this is incredibly useful and interesting information for me and I love having it a click away.
#10 CanvasLIVE - If only I could make it to every CanvasLIVE session, but alas, I cannot. However, I can get to everything CanvasLIVE related here!
#11 Canvas Studio - Who doesn't like to peek behind the curtain and stay ahead of the game? This is also a useful reference to verify that long sought after feature request actually did get implemented and when.
Maybe I was too overwhelmed when you posted this to really appreciate it, but looking at it now, it really is a pretty awesome strategy! I sat here for way too long trying to figure out how to get to Canvas Labs and this would have saved me a lot of time!
What I've found that works well for me is that I have a Google spreadsheet that's always open when I'm in the Community (my time tracking sheet) and I added an extra sheet for "notes." In these notes I've listed key pages, groups, documents, people, etc that help me when I'm trying to find something or answer a question!
I find myself bookmarking things in the Community only to never remember how to actually SEE my bookmarks - I'm adding a browser bookmark that points to my Canvas Community bookmarks. (That sentence has entirely too many "bookmarks" in it - sorry!)