Recently I've been trying to be more efficient with my workflow, so I've been forcing myself to use the hotbox as much as possible. Thought I'd share my experience and I welcome comments and thoughts.
First I turn everything off. Ctrl + Space. Ctrl + M, Shift + M, Ctrl + Shift + M
To access the hotbox, press and hold space. Turn on all menu sets (hotbox options, show all). For some reason this doesn't get saved, does anyone know how to keep it this way for every new scene and project?
So yes, the hotbox has menus for all sets as well as the panel menus, so you can turn those off too.
It takes a bit longer for me to find the right menu/tool/command, but I will get faster, to the point where it will be quicker than moving my mouse to the top of the screen for shelf icons or menu items.
Click on the very centre of the hotbox to switch between ortho and persp views. Also, the north side of the hotbox contains panel layouts (I think), the east has different editors and windows, the south has something that I don't remember, and the west has masks (I have yet to figure out how to use these properly).
I do need to turn on the help line, the command line, and the status line at this point (the status line for the component and object masks, as I said, the west side of the hotbox doesn't have all the masks, or I'm not using them properly).
One of the greatest things about the hotbox I've found, is the recent commands menu. Of course there is 'g' and 'y' for most recent command and tool, respectivly, but all too often you do something, do a second thing, then want to do the first thing again. Easy - peasy. Space > Recent commands > list of last 10-20 commands and tools. Love it.
In the render window, you'll notice that those menus have gone too, and the hotbox doesn't work there. No prob, RMB and voila - the menus.
I have a feeling this will drastically speed up my work as I get to know the hotbox, regardless of the module I'm working in. I'm also using marking menus more and more (for modelling, UVing etc). Just keep mashing RMB anywhere with various combos of Ctrl, Shift, and there's almost limitless goodies to find.
Disclaimer: don't have maya here, these are educated guesses on the shortcuts and commands.