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First, make sure that you've updated to After Effects CS4 (9.0.2).
Also, here's a post that is about avoiding some of the most common causes of poor performance.
BTW, it would help a lot if you gave more details about your system: OS version, computer specs, et cetera.
Regarding the Shift key, there's a preference in the text preferences file (Adobe After Effects 9.0 Prefs.txt) for setting the sensitivity of that key for opening the Composition Mini-flowchart.
ModKey QuickTap Threshold (Seconds) is set to 0.2 seconds. You can increase or decrease this setting.
Are you by any chance using a Wacom tablet?
Thanks for all the help, I will try out the modkey setting. Sort of an annoying feature.
As for some of your questions, no Wacom tab and here is my Mac build.
Mac OS X 10.5.8, running CS4 184.108.40.206
2x3 Ghz quad core intel xeon
3gb 800 mhx ddr2 ram
Ram is being upgrade to 8 I beleive later this month but I never had any issues with CS3. I will take a look at the tips.