Mavericks has a sophisticated RAM management software.
The good old days where you did the job of trying to keep as much RAM free as you could are obsoleted. Someone had the good idea of what is the purpose of RAM that is not used.
So use it all or as much as you can and manage the dynamics so it does not overun to Swap.
What it means it will continuously optimize the RAM usage while prioritizing the accessibility the speed to which applications open.
It uses a feature called
Compressed memory to gain RAM space.
The measure of its success is not to have swap (if possible), which is using the hard disk as RAM, that slows it down.
In your case there is no swap or compression so the slow down you are experiencing is not your RAM.
Also looking at your memory pressure it is in normal levels.
You have 8 Google windows open totaling in 250 MB of RAM (that is also normal), but that could lead to slow down opening all of them at once.
To find out what is slowing it down you need to look in the console and publish some lines here at the time stamp of opening a application that takes long time to load.
As for kernel, it is normal for it to use up to 500 MB of RAM for all its jobs it has to do.