The "killer app" for emacs is org-mode. Org-Mode is for keeping notes, maintaining TODO lists, doing project planning, and authoring with a fast and effective plain-text system. It can also be used to log time spent on projects. On top of that, it also offers a convenient way of doing literate programming. Plus it contains a spreadsheet.
Org-Mode is distributed with Emacs, but you may want to check for a newer version. This project is under very active development.
The Org-Mode project maintains excellent documentation and has an active community.