There is a little known feature that can help automatically show and hide panels when working in Photoshop CS6: Auto-Collapse Iconic Panels. I find this useful when I have two columns of panels: where the panels on the far right are fully expanded and the second row of panels are collapsed. If you look at the screenshot, you can see that I have my Properties panels in the collapsed, iconic state.
If I have the Auto-Collapse Iconic Panels option turned on, and add an adjustment layer, the Properties panel automatically expands so that I can make changes. When I’m finished, the panel automatically closes.
To toggle the Auto-Collapse Iconic Panels option on or off, Control -click (Mac) / Right Mouse -click (Win) in the empty space to the right of an expanded panel’s name.