Apple’s Time Machine is an excellent backup tool which is extremely easy to use and preinstalled on your mac – so really there is no excuse to not use it.
However, the ease of use comes at the cost of control, e.g. Time Machine runs automatically every hour, thus at times interrupting what you do as it chews up valuable resources of your Mac.
Luckily there are a few options to regain control, one of the easiest to use is TimeMachineScheduler by Klieme (who btw. also do the fantastic ScreenSharingMenulet for both donations are appreciated).
TimeMachineScheduler installs as a System Preference and amongst other features enables you to change the backup interval to anything between 1 – 12 hours, to skip backups within a specified time range and to restrict backups to a defined network connection (e.g. to only run while you are connected via Ethernet)… it really does not get any easier than this and works on 10.5, 10.6 and 10.7.
If you are on 10.7 / Lion Apple now also includes ‘tmutil‘ a UNIX command, enabling everyone comfortable with the command line (use Terminal) to tweak Time Machine’s settings to your liking.