Who has time for time management? Let’s be honest: being a productive, healthy, working woman is a challenge. Between commuting, and working, then working some more, I don’t have time for hobbies and self-learning and winding down. Don’t even get me started on workouts and fostering meaningful relationships.

My weekday alarm is set for 3 times: 5:30AM, 6:30AM, 7:00AM.

I need to be butt-in-chair at work at 9:00AM. Most days I snooze until the 7:00AM mark. “Why snooze so hard”, you ask? Because who pays $1K for a mattress to not lay in it half-awake/half-asleep for an hour and half every morning! “Why not just set your alarm for a more reasonable time”, you ask? Because I like the idea of waking up early! Typically, once I muster up the energy to vacate soft, warm paradise, I fall into a routine: rush to let the pup out, shower, change, and hustle to the bus for my one hour commute at 8:00AM. Yes, it takes me a whole hour to get ready in the mornings. No, no known effort throughout my teens and twenties has proven any speed optimizations. Though I did have a phase in my teens inspired by Mean Girls to curl my hair every morning and religiously wear pink on Wednesdays with no additional time hit.

This morning was different. I woke up before my 5:30AM alarm, at 4:05AM, to the sound of what I thought was some kind of plastic ball inflating and deflating.

I live in the middle of the city and hear all kinds of noises, ranging from construction and traffic to bad rock music and dudes throwing up within earshot of my bedroom window.

I rolled over to see my little four-month-old puppy was gagging and throwing up all over his kennel! Awesome.

What options did I have? Ignore him and try to go back to my classic snoozing routine or be a good human and mitigate the situation. If I say I went with the former, the state of Oregon would take my dog but more importantly, nobody can ignore those sweet, sad puppy eyes any time of day. I put on my problem-solving hat.

I thought of calling my mom – classic move for my generation: they have all kinds of magic-mom answers – nevertheless, she’d ignore the early morning call.

I thought of consulting the Internet, but that place is trash nowadays and studies must show that image results have gotten more disgusting since the 2000’s. Meanwhile, puppy was still laying in a not-so-pretty pile of gross, so I started by taking him out of his kennel and out of my apartment. All things considered, little pup’s situation wasn’t too different than any of us who’ve had too much to drink, so, reflecting on my many years of holding friends’ hair and nonchalant public puking, we walked it off and hydrated. Thirty minutes later, he was all tail-wags and no problems! I wish my hangovers were this light-hearted.

So, what’s a girl to do at 5AM?

I was determined to not give in and retreat to pillow sanctuary. Relaxing is for the weak, I thought to myself. I worked out, I ate a healthy avocado toast breakfast, I did laundry, I had a leisurely shower, I taught the dog to play the piano, I solved world hunger and the gender pay gap. Super productive morning, I’d say! I got to work feeling energized and ready for the day, all thanks to my puppy probably having a little too much grass and forcing myself to be productive. It’s engrained in our upbringing to work our asses off, how could I ever sleep in past 4:00AM ever again? A friend told me she joked with her mom the other day that the reason she doesn’t know how to relax is that as a kid she told her to stop playing videogames and “be productive”. Her mom corrected her, “it was actually ‘be constructive'”. Balance is a bitch.