Image via Wikipedia It takes a long, long time for me to get comfortable with a machine - my personal production desktop is full of nifties and tweaks. However, in my work, I move around a lot, between machines, between different profiles on the same machine and so on.
I reckon that most repetitively time consuming and unproductive thing I do when working as an Office worker or a developer or a trainer is to File > Save As and noodle around for my preferrred location. And it's not often in My Documents because that's very user profile dependent - and in my work, I switch between machines, switch between user profiles, switch between USB flash drives, switch between Network Shares.
So, whenever I get motivated enough, the Places Bar or any technique where I can get to a document, saves the wear and tear on the grey cells. On one machine, I have RecentX - love that but it's a paid-for, needs-to-be-installed utility.
Back to the Places Bar though. It's in Microsoft Office and supported by Windows XP. (Don't confuse the Office Places Bar with the Windows XP Places Bar, by the way). Nominating a folder to be a favourite is quite easy and well understood MS KB 826214 describes this and you can watch the user level video.
When I go to Windows Vista on the notebook though, the Places Bar isn't there - it's been replaced by the Vista specific dialog. That's MS KB 926167.
Update: Now back on my favourite machine, I am reminded of Melloware's Places Bar Editor, a donationware product. It handles Windows XP Places Bar and the Office Places Bar without needing to get your hands really dirty.