If you use many programs, then having fast access to your favorite programs is definitely important. You can access most of your programs from Start menu, then by going to All Programs. From there you can choose whichever program you need. However, if there are some programs that you use more often, you might want to create a shortcut like I have for my Calculator or Paint for example.
To do this, open Start menu again and All Programs. Select your chosen program and drag it above the recently opened programs. This is the area where shortcuts to your favorite programs are located. Just make sure that you are dragging a program, not a folder. To remove a program from the list just right click on it and select Remove from The List. This is an easy and convenient way to access programs.