This is a quick and dirty method of backing up each and every directory that you have in your home folder. Most of you would probably know this anyway, but I thought I might just repost it here.
tar cvpf backup.tar `ls`
Perhaps a better way is to create an incremental backup each time.
tar cvpf backup.tar -g snapshot `ls`
This command compares the timestamps of files in the current directory with that of snapshot, and the resulting differences are written into backup.tar. This method ensures that you only write incremental changes and not the whole directory over and over again.
If there is any particular file/folder you do not want to backup, you can specify the –hide option in ls as follows:
tar cvpf backup.tar -g snapshot `ls --hide=Desktop`
That will ensure that the Desktop folder is not backed up.