If you're frustrated by the way Windows 8 limits you to viewing just one or two Modern UI apps at one time, then Toolbox for Windows may be able to help: it provides 9 built-in productivity tools which you can arrange or organise as you like. See Windows 8 review.
You get a browser, for instance, a Facebook client and weather app. A Notifier warns you of upcoming events; Doodle is a very simple drawing tool; there's a voice notes applet and unit conversion tool, and you get a clock and calculator thrown in for good measure.
And what really matters is you don't just have to have one of these active on the screen at a time. You can have two, three, four, five, six maybe, arranged more or less as you like (although they can't overlap), and Toolbox can even save these layouts (which it calls "toolsets") for easy access later.
Sample toolsets on offer to help you get started include "Brainstorming", for instance, which loads the browser, Voice Notes and Doodle apps. "World Travel" loads separate weather and clock apps for Seattle, Brooklyn and Berlin, so you can see the current time and conditions in each place all on one screen. While "In the News" opens four browser windows, each with their own custom news search.
And of course you're free to either customise these layouts, swapping one app for another, customising the details of each one, or create entirely new toolsets of your own.
There are also some issues here. The apps are generally fairly basic, for instance, and it really needs a text editor. Toolbox for Windows 8 does offer far more flexibility in your app layout than Microsoft managed, though, and that alone makes the app an essential download.