By setting up a foundation Workspace in CS6/CC, you can dramatically speed up your overall workflow, while increasing overall efficiency, functionality, and (bottom line) creativity.
Think of Panels as miniature workspaces, each accomplishing a different function. There are almost two dozen different panels available to you, but in the spirit of K.I.S.S. (Keep It Super Simple), I would suggest that you start with just nine, and add those you deem necessary as you gain more experience with Photoshop.
Below is a representation of the nine panels I would suggest that you set up on your Photoshop desktop to create a proper workspace. Photoshop gives you a set of predefined workspaces.
To learn how and why, check out this video:
Just remember, these nine panels are the ones that you’ll use most. As it is important to keep things simple (Remember K.I.S.S.!), stick with these to start – you cannot go wrong.