Confession time: I have never played an Animal Crossing game before, and I have already spent 115+ hours in New Horizons.
The game is so fun and addicting. The characters are so cute, and I love the freedom of decorating and personalizing your island. The only thing that is slightly annoying is the time it takes to get anywhere. It took me about a week to even move from my tent into a house! So, I did what any impatient gamer does, and looked up videos on YouTube to figure out how to make things move a little quicker. Honestly, this game is probably pretty accurate of how long it would actually take to create a flourishing community from a previously uninhabited island. Here are some things I've learned so far that have helped with either speed or general in-game problems.
While this is technically a cheat, it can help construction go by faster. Pretty much every construction job takes one night to finish, so "time traveling" skips to the next day. To do this, BEFORE you load up the game for the first time, set the date on your Nintendo Switch back a few days. Most people do around seven, but you can do more or less if you want. Just remember that if you set it too far back, your game may start out in a different month or weather season! Once you get it set to the desired date, load up the game and start it. Then, when you have a construction project, you can close the game, go to your settings, and move it up a day. You can do this until you get it back to the correct present day.
Grind it out.
It may not seem like it, but this happy-go-lucky game is all about grinding for hours at a time. There are days where I've spent 6+ hours on it, which isn't very good for my eyes, but it helped my progress immensely. The more you play, the more Bells you earn, the more you can buy, etc. The easiest ways to make Bells are to gather things that are already on your island. You can catch fish or bugs, and gather fruit, wood, or minerals. I like to fill my inventory completely, then go to Timmy and Tommy and sell it all in bulk. It's quite satisfying, and can be fulfilling (to your bank account).
Buy everything you like.
If you're like me, you'll probably be really tight with your Bells when you're trying to pay off your home loan. Spending 500 Bells on a new shirt may not sound great when you're 50,000 Bells in the hole, but go ahead and buy anything that tickles your fancy; you never know when that exact shirt is going to come back around in Nook Shopping! Plus, anything you buy or obtain, you can go back and order again through the Catalog later on.
Get help from friends.
You more than likely know someone else who has the game, so reach out for their help! My boyfriend actually just got the game, and I sent him some iron and tools so that he could start building quicker. For me, those things are easy to get, but for him it was like finding gold.
Donate everything you catch to Blathers first!
I know it will be tempting to take your inventory full of new specimens straight to sell, but donate them to the museum first! Once you donate them to Blathers, your museum will start to fill of all the creatures you've collected, which will be exciting once you fill it completely! I'm still filling up mine, and recently unlocked the art portion of the museum. Oh and by the way, Redd the Fox doesn't always sell genuine art pieces; some of them are fakes!
Nook Miles tickets
Take advantage of Nook Miles tickets! These take you to a random, uncharted island full of natural resources. Chop down trees, collect stones and minerals, and catch fish or bugs. You can either save these for DIY projects, or go sell it all in the shop. If you get lucky, you may end up on "Scorpion island" or "Tarantula island". These spawn scorpions and tarantulas like crazy, which can sell for 8,000 Bells, or 12,000 if you sell them to Flick, the bug collector. There are also a few islands that spawn rare fish that can go for big Bell amounts.
Every once in a while, Isabelle or Celeste will say that there will be a meteor shower, or shooting stars. When this happens, clear your agenda for the night. What you'll want to do is find a part of your island where you can see the sky clearly. Then, wait for the shower to begin. Every time a star goes by, press A. Your character will make a wish, and the star will grow bright and make a sound. Do this as much as possible, and the next day star fragments will appear all over the beach!
Try to play a little every day. I've developed a sort of routine that I go through every time I log in so that I can keep my island running smoothly. Hopefully some of these little tips and tricks will help you get further in the game. I know they've helped me a ton, and I still continue to beautify my island every day!