I've never been a big fan of lots of icons sitting on my Windows desktop; I have a few key ones, then use a highly organized Start menu to gain access to my applications. So when I started working with my Mac I adopted the same mindset: Push some key applications that I access frequently into the Dock, then hit the Finder and switch to Applications for everything else.
I mentioned this to my friend Dylan and he said "Why are you doing that? Just use the Spotlight to open your applications". Spotlight? If you're a Mac user you're probably aware of the feature - hitting Command-Space gives immediate access. Once pointed out to me I find myself using it for more and more.
Dylan's rather astute observation was "Why would you need to organize everything? It's a computer - shouldn't it do that work for you?". Yeah, I guess it should!
So now when I need to grab an application that isn't sitting in my Dock I just hit Command-Space and type in what I need.
I also found some really cool little tips of things that you can do with Spotlight - it's actually a pretty decent calculator and will quickly load words into the dictionary. You can find out more from this page on the Apple web site.