Like many, I've had to move my workstation home due to COVID-19. ArcGIS takes a really long time to start up. I checked out a concurrent-use license to my desktop computer, so hitting the license manager shouldn't be the issue. Note this is on startup of an empty session, not an existing MXD. I understand connecting to the data on our work servers will be slower.
Can anyone offer ideas on what to check to make startup faster? Would anyone be willing to explain what it looks for and connects to at startup?
Even in my very secure environment (at work and home), I have the ability to use Windows Task Manager to set the ArcMap session priority higher; it always defaults to Normal. Access this from the Task Manager Details screen. This will last until you completely exit the software, so you can switch MXDs but still keep the higher priority.
But what you are describing is a little strange. I often load empty ArcMap, then choose a project because everything starts up better that way. I don't think the "empty" map that comes up is entirely empty though, since the software is looking for your Normal template. At 10.6, mine is in my profile at AppData\Roaming\ESRI\.... So maybe try finding, then erasing or altering your Normal template.Also not signing into ArcGIS Online may help.