Before you start a document, it's helpful to set up the workspace the way you prefer it to make your efforts more efficient. Because there are numerous palettes in Illustrator, several of which you might be using at any given time, it's easy for the workspace to become cluttered and possibly even take your focus away from your work.
As with any Adobe program, you can press the Tab key at any time to hide all palettes and see your workspace. If you'd like to hide all palettes except for the Toolbox, select Window, Workspace, Minimal or press Shift-Tab. This command also keeps the Control palette open, but it docks it at the bottom of the screen.
You can also set custom workspaces if more than one person will be using the computer or if you have different workspace preferences for different projects. To create a custom workspace, first arrange your workspace the way you want, with all palettes open and in the space you want. Select Window, Workspace, Save Workspace. A dialog enables you to name your workspace; click OK to save it. From that point on, this named workspace (a collection of your preferred working environment) is available at Window, Workspace, Workspace Name. You can also select Window, Workspace, Manage Workspaces to add or delete workspaces.