Productivity Tips: Three Free Tools for Windows

The availability of free software is a huge blessing to individuals and businesses on a budget. Surprisingly, in many cases free software is not only easy on the pocket book, but also works as well or better than commercial software. In this article, I’d like to share three of my favorite productivity tools that are available for free on the Windows platform.

Minimalist Word Processing with Q10

There are times when I miss the simplicity of typewriters. No apps, no social media, no web to surf, and no distractions—just me and my writing. Luckily, Q10 has got me covered. Q10 is a barebones text editor that operates in full screen mode. It is ideal when I need to stay focused on my writing and meet tight deadlines. Though it doesn’t have much in the way of features, it does offer a spell checker and word count, two tools that are essential to any writer. As a bonus, when you type you even get the sound of a typewriter, though that feature can be disabled if you find it annoying. Q10 is available for Windows only, although similar programs that run on Mac and Linux also exist, such as FocusWriter and JDarkRoom.

Brainstorming with FreeMind

Another favorite productivity tool of mine is FreeMind. FreeMind is a mind mapping tool that allows you to create diagram clusters of ideas. I love using it for brainstorming, free association, research organization, planning, and creation of outlines. FreeMind is written in Java and has been around for years. It offers a plethora of features, including one-click navigation, HTML exporting, HTML links in nodes, and support for icons, colors, and fonts.

Photo Editing with Picasa

Finally, I want to mention Google’s free image editing software, Picasa. Picasa is perfect for doing quick edits and tasks such as contrast and color adjustment, cropping, or resizing. I can’t count the number of times I needed to do a quick adjustment or resize on a photo, and Picasa has saved the day. In fact, editing on Picasa is so fast and easy that if Photoshop isn’t really necessary, I will use Picasa even on machines where Photoshop is installed.

Whether I’m writing a blogpost with Q10, outlining my next marketing proposal in FreeMind, or cropping a photo at the last minute for a client newsletter, I’m thankful that these great tools exist to enhance my productivity and creativity. I hope these tools will make your life a little easier, and be sure to keep checking the CPURX blog as we share more productivity and technology tips.