You're busy. We're busy. Everybody's busy. Thankfully, busy people are also creative software developers. And we've tapped into their treasures to find you five awesome, "keep your life together" applications. Forever say goodbye to the yellow sticky notes adorning your computer display. These free programs will ensure that you never miss a critical appointment, important task, or billing date. More than that, we've selected a few applications that can even sync your life essentials across every platform you use, be it a cell phone, a work computer, et cetera.
What it Does: This application combines a calendar and a to-do list with powerful tagging and alarm functionality. But unlike a typical application of this type (say, Microsoft Outlook), you get a special storage point on Chandler's servers absolutely free-of-charge. The program uses the available space to back up your important information. It also helps you synchronize this information over multiple computers. While the process itself is more manual than we'd prefer, it sure beats trying to manage the insanity of Outlook desktop-to-Web synchronization.
What it Does: This open-source application doesn't have an official name. That doesn't mean it's any less critical for keeping your information synchronized between computers. As you might guess, the mash-up combines an online login tool (Mashed Life) with your offline password application, KeePass. The synchronization aspect of this mash-up is only one-way: you enter passwords in both KeePass and Mashed Life simultaneously, but you can't pull down Mashed Life passwords into KeePass. The beauty of Mashed Life comes into play when you go to access a Web site. The application's Bookmark Login tool lets you one-click your way past the authentication systems of your favorite Web sites: You'll never have to remember a password again!
What it Does: We first recommend you sign up for an account at Remember the Milk, an amazing Web system that helps you keep track of all of your important to-dos. You can assign individual priorities and due dates for all of your reminders, flag them as completed (or postponed) as you go about your business, and receive reminders in more formats then we've ever seen: instant messengers, e-mail, mobile, and more! Then fire up RTM Tool, which slaps the functionality of Remember the Milk right on the front of your desktop. Interact with the online service without firing up a Web browser, and enjoy the built-in reminder functionality that RTM Tool brings to your PC.
What it Does: Evernote is another application that allows you to synchronize reminder messages across multiple devices. This application contains impressive notation functionality, as it's even able to recognize the scribbling you've done on images (We're going to assume that you're taking a picture of a white board for this one, unless you're planning on scanning your sticky notes). The interesting part of Evernote lies in its mobile functionality. Unlike Remember the Milk, Evernote's iPhone and Windows Mobile applications not only let you send screenshots directly to your Evernote account using the phone, but they also let you record your own audio notes as well. There's even a flash-based version of Evernote, which you can run off a portable drive without ever needing to install anything onto the host computer.
What it Does: Keep track of the money you're shelling out (and more importantly, the funds that are coming in) with this powerful financial application. It embodies functionality that you'd find in Microsoft Money or Quicken at a far lower price of "free." While you might not initially consider a financial application as part of a general productivity suite, hear us out. With GnuCash, you can generate spending reports and track your expenses by category. You can then track what you're dishing out against a budget that you've created, ensuring that you'll have enough to pay rent by the time the month ends. And yes, you can even set up GnuCash to work with your online bank of choice--that's double-awesome.