As consultant for open source and free aplications, I tried a lot of free software and services in 2009 that made my daily work a lot easier. Therefore I will put a short list, that hopefully will help you to boost productivity.
1. Google Apps
Further thanks to its powerful search, Google got established as source for any piece of knowledge. Nowhere else I find that fast information I used 3 years ago at university. And it remains quite convenient to put notes or Information to remember in future no matter where you are. Despite to MS Outlook it also enables me to share calendars and use multiple calendars without any extra cost.
Google Sites turned out to be a very easy solution for collaboration in projects, thanks to permanent improvements this year, I was able to use Google Sites service not only for project tracking if not for some customer website projects.
Seven-Zip is a small handy programm, that allows the handling of almost any current compression format. If you install and configure 7zip as default program for opening .zip files, you will save some time, just double-clicking .zip folders to see, whats inside and drag and drop them for further use.
Started in 2004 as a student project, Paint.NET has evolved from a simple replacement for the Microsoft Paint program, which is included with Windows, into a powerful editor with support for layers, blending, transparency, and plug-ins. It has been my compañion for any quite of quick-editing so far.
4. VLC MediaPlayer
Starting 2001 as open source player by VideoLan, VLC got a serious alternative die Standard Windows Media Player and is also available for other Platforms. It also comes with a lot of codecs, you probably do not find on a preinstalled system.
Skype is the most well known free tool, for making voice calls over internet. They started in 2002 and since that number of supported devices en platform increased constantly. Starting with a proprietary transmission format since 2009 Skype also support Internet-Telephony-Standard SIP With the spread of integrated Laptop Webcams, Skype is on its way to become a standard for Video-Conferencing also. Skype is especially usable for online collaboration and communication within PCs, while its out rates to call fixed network phones or mobile are usually little higher then competitors
Teamviewer is a handy tool for remote support, desktop-sharing and File-Transfer. It comes free for personal use, and all to get connected is to transmit an access adress as will as a PIN-code to get started. Together with Skype it is a good combination to work together over long distance.
7. AVG Antivir
AVG stands for the Antivirus product-line by AVG Technologies, a check company started as Grisoft 1997. AVG is most known for its free Antivir-Program, that is available for Windows as well as for Liux-versions.
One thing I like especials about free AVG that it comes quite more decently then other free antivir programs.
Picasa is Googles Program for Organizing, Editing, Tagging and Publishing your photo collection, Since version 3 it supports the creation of slide-shows as video and is directly linked to its video-platform Youtube. It also gives a lot of free online Space, what might beside Flickr best option for archiving photos as well as sharing them with friends.
SlideRocket is a rich internet application for creating stunning presentations. It differentiates though the number of available effects, collaboration functions and usability and can be seen as a good alternative to MS Powerpoint. It is possible to download your presentation for offline presentation. Unfortunately in order to use Sliderocket without cost, trial phase is limited to 30 days. Therefore I usually download my finished presentation to grab them as video and upload then to Youtube, which takes several advantages for promoting them for a longer time.
10. Google Chrome
Since time is money, Google Chrome will be a good option, to speed up your internet web browser. Though still quite new, for regular web browsing it turned out to be my first choice firing faster in comparison to Firefox and Internet Explorer. There are quite some developings going on know, and it is likely that Chrome will play a more important role in future.
Hope that will raise your productivity a little bit, feel free to comment for any sugestions