I think you are not alone with this 'problem'. I'm not an ESRI GURU by any means - just one of those, like you, who struggles with the program's limitations at times. Editing in ArcMap is like watching water boil.
Believe it or not, editing in the older ArcView v3.x is faster! Use this if you have it and stick with the shapefile format for transferring your datasets between the programs.
If you have a bunch of editing and need it quickly, definitely go with a CAD program. Just be aware that (1) you will have to deal with back-and-forth export/import format (since CAD can't read the native shapefile format) and (2) you will have to also deal with the projection/coordinate system/datum problems and data transformations when going from CAD2GIS (unless you have AutoCAD Map).
[To deal with this directly and not have to go through the heartache of setting it up in CAD, I generally create a shapefile in ArcMap with all the parameters you will need to complete it such as projection, coords, etc., draw a few objects in it for reference -bounding boxes, buildings, etc., THEN export to CAD. All your georeferencing is retained therein. Bring the drawing back into ArcMap, convert to shapefile and you're off and running.]
Hope this helps?