Microsoft does not have removed the sidebar, and made it otherwise, gadgets windose 7 remains, only now they can not show in the sidebar. Besides all their gadgets have very little functionality, and hence the usefulness, too. If Microsoft a bit tensed and she made more useful gadgets, I think this panel, and then everything would have enjoyed.
Your program is to organize, and in my opinion, it is important that task were always visible, always on top. It is important to get a quick, easy and simple access to your organizer, without extra clicks. I use the panel on the side of Google desktop from all the windows, very comfortable in it to make quick notes, as well as to see what needs to be done right now. Much more convenient than keeping everything on the desktop. In 1280*800 I have identified about 150 pixels for the panel, it is enough to display a few words in small font size.