I think “tiered levels of reserves with increasing costs” is a more general description, out of which the “frequently dip into short-term reserves during normal operations” (even biological cycles of sleeping and eating involve that) and “hesitate before dipping into longer-term reserves because it might signal either something else avoidably wrong or the need to change other plans to compensate” fall from different points in the continuum.
I like this conceptualization a whole lot. Structure your reserves such that the replenish rate matches the frequency of need: it’s OK to dip into daily reserves once a day or so, and monthly reserves about once a month. If you have recently used more of your reserves (or something is coming up that you predict will need more), you should restructure a bit to increase your replenishment rate.
Do you think this is important enough to get reworked into the post itself?
I think it’d be useful to describe the model of capacity, headroom, and replenishment that this is based on, but I’m not sure it’s universal enough to put a lot of effort into, and it doesn’t invalidate the post in any way. So, I guess “no”.It probably IS worth mentioning that this idea has an unpleasant implication, which is worth accepting head-on. You are giving up efficiency to account for variance in your emotional costs. You won’t always use your slack (if you do, it’s not slack), and from a naive standpoint, that’s “wasted”.
To elaborate on this it is possible to have ongoing projects that are easy to backburner, and thus can use resources when available but can easily be dropped if something more important comes up. This doesn’t totally recover the value of the lost time (if the flexible project was more important you would have chosen it already), but when doing the math on which projects have the highest payoff, “can use excess resources without suffering when they’re not available” is a good trait that might merit displacing a theoretically more important but less flexible project.