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Photos: Work better, smarter, faster

Dynamic software to keep you from your biggest productivity hurdle--yourself.

Jessica Dolcourt
Jessica Dolcourt is a passionate content strategist and veteran leader of CNET coverage. As Senior Director of Commerce & Content Operations, she leads a number of teams, including Commerce, How-To and Performance Optimization. Her CNET career began in 2006, testing desktop and mobile software for Download.com and CNET, including the first iPhone and Android apps and operating systems. She continued to review, report on and write a wide range of commentary and analysis on all things phones, with an emphasis on iPhone and Samsung. Jessica was one of the first people in the world to test, review and report on foldable phones and 5G wireless speeds. Jessica began leading CNET's How-To section for tips and FAQs in 2019, guiding coverage of topics ranging from personal finance to phones and home. She holds an MA with Distinction from the University of Warwick (UK).
Jessica Dolcourt
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1 of 9 ResultsWare Limited
The Microsoft Outlook add-in Taskline does what Outlook's task list already should have: it automatically schedules tasks to the calendar, and thereby loops them in with your reminder alarms.
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2 of 9 CNET Networks
The biggest enemy of the workday is often time. RoboForm cuts corners--the good way--by dropping your personal information or any password you throw at it into log-in fields and online forms. The AES encryption keeps intruders out, and the browser toolbar keeps data close at hand.
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3 of 9 CNET Networks
Here's an idea. Instead of drudging through your folder system to find a file, have files come to you. With minimal setup, the Launchy quick-apps launcher indexes as many files and Web sites as your little heart desires so it can serve them up in seconds. And it never begs for treats.

As an alternative, desktop searches such as Google Desktop (for Windows and Mac) and Copernic Desktop Search also track down files, faster than your average OS.


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4 of 9 CNET Networks
Tangled up in thought? Mind-mapping visualizers such as FreeMind for Mac or Windows (review) and MindManager (review) can guide you through your cranial labyrinth. Mindmeister and Bubbl.us do similar sorting for the online crowd.
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5 of 9 CNET Networks
Microsoft Office Accounting Express is the small business-owner's answer to hefty corporate accounting fees. The do-it-yourself freeware (there's a commercial version, too) sets up payroll, charging, and accounting systems, and even does refunds and credit ratings lookups. The smart software tops it off by supporting PayPal activity, just what you'd expect from Seattle's software titan.
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6 of 9 CNET Networks
The free Microsoft Excel add-on Rainbow Analyst Personal equips spreadsheet ninjas with a powerful tool for quickly and colorfully locating errors in models (hence the "rainbow"). The app's features map dependencies between cells, whip up matrix-style reporting for detail work, and pack in functions for speedy comparisons. Whoosh. There goes one now.
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7 of 9 CNET Networks
Unhealthy people are not productive people. If you're prone to muscle strain, Break Reminder, RSIShield, and Workplace Angel are but three apps dedicated to saving your corpus from painful repetitive stress disorders. Regular breaks keep muscles in your eyes, neck, back, and hands from clenching, and these guardian apps throw in stretching techniques for good measure. The metered interludes also give a breather to your brain, the most important "muscle" of all.
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8 of 9 CNET Networks
If you don't have Microsoft Outlook, Handy Address Book is the next best thing. It may not look like much, but this digital rolodex on steroids can import and export contacts, initiate e-mail, fetch a map of a contact's location, and publish the data online via FTP for everywhere-access. It can also format labels and launch calls to contacts, which is good if you have dial-up and somewhat useless if you don't.
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9 of 9 3M
With all the dazzling technology poured into fancy PDAs and online calendars, when it comes time to jot a quick note, how often do you reach for the yellow sticky? Post-it Software Notes Lite one-ups the classic canary-colored paper product with a free digital version that sticks notes to your desktop. It also outdoes overly complex reminder software. Got a time-sensitive note? Post-it Software Notes Lite comes alive with alarm bells.

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