To Virginia, the brightest light in the sky
Yesterday I got across the term "Technical debt" and I remember it being explained to leadership as "debt that should be payed regularly", it's a term that doesn't resonate with me because debt is not something that appears out of nowhere: to have debt is an option, to pay it is an obligation.
I usually call these tasks "maintenance" as, in my eyes, software is no different to a machine that you have to regularly oil, tune up and replace pieces. But if we want a fancy term I'd rather vote for "housekeeping"
Cleaning the house we live in is something we can never stop doing. It can wait for a while but don't let it pass again and again or the house gets dirty until eventually no work can be done. Keeping the house clean is not necesarily something you schedule for, sometimes you need to use the kitchen but just by looking at it you know you'll finish earlier if a quick clean up is done first.
The same way, an office that haven't been cleaned for too long will slow down progress and get employees sick.
Keep the house clean