Your followers sometimes appear to have no sense of direction whatsoever. Remedy this by using the lasso method. You can lasso either single or multiple followers at the same time by holding down on one until the blue circle appears, then another, then another, and then finally drag your finger over to where you want them to go, and then release it. This works especially well for sending your followers to temples and other far away places.
They will sometimes also start taking actions on their own depending on if they have the circumstances to do so. For example, start flattening out land and making plots appear. If you have enough flat land that plots appear automatically, leave it alone, even shutting the game off if you need to, and then when you come back, your followers will either be automatically building on them, or will automatically have built on them already. Other times, just tap the opaque blue builder logo to send the builder somewhere automatically. A transparent blue builder indicates the builder has a job to do but is already doing a different job.
Normally you need to spend gems in order to speed up actions such as constructing a building or repairing a dock. If there are few enough minutes left, speeding up will cost literally nothing, so use the free speed up if you want to free up builders quickly.
You can also speed up building construction greatly by putting more than one builder on the job. With small houses, you can typically put up to three builders on the job, whereas with a large house or with a dock, or a temple or some other big construction, you can have as many as five or six builders on the job at the same time. This will both decrease the amount of time that it takes to build, and will cause the construction time to count down faster.
An easy way to find chests around is to look for where coins or confetti appear to be floating around in midair. Wherever you see that, start clearing out the land around that area, and after digging through a few layers, usually about three or four layers, you’ll find a chest.
If you want to push a plot a bit, you can start pushing it around by manipulating the land next to it, trying to push higher land into the side of it or delete lower land out from under it. This will only work, though, if there is room on the other side for your plot to go to.