There are two main “settings” you’ll work with throughout your career. Typically, you’re either doing productivity-focused work, or creative work. While they’re certainly both work, and they’re both necessary to help you do your job properly, they often clash with one another.
You need to be able to separate the two into different periods of time. The reason they need to be kept separate is that each one requires you to be in a different state of mind. While creativity lets your mind wander and come up with new and exciting things, productivity and focus require you to hone in on one specific thing and do it as well as you can.
When you’re trying to be creative, it’s fine to be unfocused. This doesn’t mean that you can be outright distracted, of course, but more so blurred while still looking at the project you’re working on.
It allows your mind to have room to experiment with different ideas and fresh, new ideas. When you need to be productive, you need absolute focus to get things done. You should follow your strict methods that work, and that you know work.
Don’t experiment with different things – just keep working with what works best. At this time, you don’t have room to maneuver very much, and you’re probably really locked in to whatever it is that you’re doing.
Depending on the job you have, each of these modes might have different times spent on them. For example, a construction worker or someone working in engineering might not want to experiment and be creative too much, but rather they want to work with what they know will work well and be effective.
On the other hand, a graphic designer will want to spend much more time being creative, with a bit of necessary productivity time for keeping the business end of things running smoothly.
You need to have separate times of the day for each one to take place. You might be more focused in the mornings, but more creative at night, or vice versa. If you try to force the two together, you won’t be happy with the results.
You’re either going to end up stifling your creativity with an over-focused mind, or you’ll have a mind that’s too open that ends up hurting your productivity. Test your timing and strengths and see what works best for your schedule and planning.