The impact of technical debt
Over the years the concept of "technical debt" has become a phrase that can generate anxiety and a lack of trust, as well as setting up developers and their managers for failure. The metaphor might not be perfect (Ralf Westphal makes a strong case for treating it like an addiction), but I feel it's pretty apt if you think of the story of The Pied Piper of Hamelin - if you don't pay the piper promptly for keeping you alive, he'll come back to steal your future away.
Maybe I'm being a bit dramatic, but I value my time on this planet and over the course of two decades as a software developer in various sectors of the industry I have (along with countless others) paid with so much of my own precious lifetime (sleep hours, in particular) for others' (and occasionally my own) quick fixes, rushed decisions and hacky workarounds that it pains me to even think about it.
It's almost always worthwhile investing in doing things right the first time, but we rarely have the resources to invest and we are often unable to accurately predict what's right in the first place.
So let's at least find a way to mitigate the harm.
Why TODOs don't help
The traditional method of initiating technical debt is the TODO. You write a well-meaning (and hopefully descriptive) comment starting with TODO, and "Hey, presto!" you have a nice, easy way to find all those little things you meant to fix. Right? Except that's usually not the case. We are rarely able to make time to go looking for more things to do, and even when we can, with modern software practices it's unlikely that searching across all of our different repositories will be effective.
What generally ends up happening, then, is that we only come across TODOs by coincidence, when we happen to be working with the code around it, and the chances are that it'll be written by a different developer from a different time period and be explained in... suboptimal language.
"Why hasn't this been done?", you may well ask.
"Leave that alone! We don't remember why it works," you may well be told.