There are really two conflated issues here: addressing small problems when you should be aggressively tackling the big problem, and fixing messes caused by failing to address a root problem. (Since the effort to clean up a single such mess can exceed the effort it would take to address the root problem, this cannot be considered as “addressing small problems when you should be aggressively tackling the big problem”.)
The first situation is referred to as “pencil-sharpening”. Here’s an example link:
The second situation could be called “using an ambulance instead of a fence” -from the poem “The Fence or The Ambulance” by Joseph Malines.
Here is the link to the full text of the poem:
By the way, the futile worldwide ESL industry is an example of using an ambulance in response to the language barrier, whereas adopting Esperanto as a common second language for everyone would correspond to using a fence.