People develop a general tendency to interact with multiple flows of information at the same time when working. We tend to multitask.
When we multitask, we perform many things that fool our brain into thinking that work has been accomplished.
This produces a false sense of productivity in our mind. Even if your main task has not yet been started, the tasks of checking your email, making a call or simply removing files from the trash can of your computer can create a sense of achievement in your mind.
The first step to avoid this problem is to establish self-awareness. Be conscious. One step forward is to avoid doing any of these smaller tasks at the same time you are working on that big project. To leave all of this 'stuff' until you have finished the task at hand.
This is ideal, but difficult.
Is reading this post helping to move you current project forward?
Thanks to Rory Avis-Foster for reviewing my draft.