How to use branches?

I feel like I'm missing something very obvious.  I have a master branch.  I can create new branches and make changes in them.  I can commit and push those changes.  My problem is that those changes always seem to go into every branch.  There's never a need to merge because the master branch already has the changes.  Could someone explain the basic workflow for creating a branch, making changes in only the new branch, and then merging those changes to the main branch?

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After you create a branch, you need to check it out. You can double-click the branch name in the left panel, or right-click the branch name and choose "Checkout <branchname>..."

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You also can checkout the newly created branch directly on creation via a SourceTree Option:


Within my setting it's default: each time I create a branch, SourceTree immediately switches to the new branch, so I can start working at it immediately ...

Switching to another branch (like your master branch) you have to checkout your branch as @Seth Foss describes

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