There's a lot you may be able to do, but it depends on your particular scene. In all cases you can make use of the layer manager to hide/show elements as needed. If you have many small objects that don't necessarily have to be separate objects, it helps a lot to connect them and make them a single object. If you have a lot of generators (nurbs, primitives, etc.) you can turn down your viewport Level of Detail (LOD). If you have some very high-poly objects you can use Xref objects to substitute lower poly objects until you're ready to render. Etc.
I don't know of a tutorial, but it's pretty simple. Basically you save out your high poly object in a separate scene. Then create a lower poly representation and save it as another scene. In your main scene you'll then run Create>Xref>Create Xref.
When the dialogue comes up, point to the file location of your high poly scene. It should appear in the editor view. Click on the xref object and you'll see a file link for a proxy scene. Point that your low poly scene. Now, when you click the "exchange with proxy" button, your low poly object/scene will be switched out for the high poly object/scene. From the xref manager you can choose to swap all of your xref proxies if you have multiple xref objects.
Wow Adam, that sounds pretty bad ass, most likely the best option so far.
There is something interesting happening in my scene, when using the layer browser and deactivate all the objects with all their parameters , even with the empty scene, moving across the scene is a little choppy.
Because everything is turned of, it should be smooth right??
For now what i do is working in a " virgin" scene and copy and paste into the main one.