Macbook pro slow with 1tb external hard drive not fully utilized

I have a 13" macbook pro (late 2011 model) 8GB ram (1333mhz) and 500gb sata drive. I use photoshop CS6 and Lightroom quite frequently and all my images are stored on a 1tb external seagate drive. The drive is 70% full but the macbook is not able to open folders. The drive does show up in the finder but seems blank though all the files are on it. I do not keep much on my internal hard drive so the computer is not inundated with data in anyway. Please let me know how I can fix this

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