June 22nd, 2007

Does the Early Bird Always Get the Worm?

bird worm

I’ve been given a hard time practically all my adult life for sleeping late at night. Thanks mostly to my forward-thinking relatives who believe that waking early is the key to success in life and staying up late is the root of all evil. I think that’s just absurd.

What has irked me ever since is how early risers are so smug about what time they wake up. I admit, I wake up at 11AM. On a good day I wake at 12PM. Do I feel bad about it? No! I feel more energized late in the day and I get more work done without interruption. Can the 9-5 people actually say that? During the days when I did have a normal job, I noticed how miserable we all were in the office at 9AM. It’s like time was in a standstill. Some are dozing off face down on their desks, some lounging around with a cup of coffee, some checking emails, generally an unproductive atmosphere. The real action usually starts at 1030, when the caffeine kicks in and clients start calling in. In the afternoon, we took frequent cigarette breaks (or yosi breaks) in the carpark, yet again a period of fruitlessness. As the lead web designer of the company, I extended my work hours at home, where I can think better. I found the corporate environment too uncomfortable. I guess that’s why now I’m happier doing what I do, in the comfort of my own home office.

I use Yahoo! Messenger to chat with all my online friends and colleagues. And I noticed, hey, I guess I’m not alone. Most of my friends are night owls just like me. And it’s not like they’re there only to chat, they’re actually working. So, I am quite offended when some people say “Andrew? He’s jobless.” or “Sarap ng buhay ni Andrew, walang trabaho.” (rough translation: Andrew’s life is great, he doesn’t need to work) Maybe their idea of having a job is sitting on a chair 8 hours straight and earning a measly salary, but I beg to differ. I am working my ass off to make a living. In fact, I am making a very decent living.

So, may I ask, does the early bird always get the worm? If I look at everyone I know, the answer is no. There’s a couple of early bird-friends of mine who are raking it in. The others are corporate slaves, making just enough — but not enough. On the other hand, the night owls I know are doing quite well in their own right. They’re getting international clients and earn good money. Dollars at that!

I asked some of my online buddies and this is what they have to say:

Alfredo Palconit Jr., Web Designer, Early Bird:

“As they say, early bird catches the first worm. In my opinion some prefer to be night owls because of the higher pay, especially if the business includes global clients. Many Chinese businessmen I know are combined night owls and early birds. They wake up at 3AM listening to Chinese radio while making deliveries to stores. And sleep late to record all earnings that day.

Aileen Apolo, Google Philippines Representative, Night Owl, ex-Early Bird:

“Yes, I think early birds are more successful than night owls because the early birds get the worm. My parents instilled that in me when I was growing up. Since it is the “norm”, there’s a bigger chance (for early birds) to be in the know with regard to opportunities. It also depends on your industry, but I would say based on experience, that early birds are more professional to work with.”

Maria Jose, Jill of all Trades, Night Owl:

“No. Because not all worms are early worms. When it comes to professional work, one always has to be an early bird. But for other things, night owls definitely have more fun.”

Marc Macalua, SEO Guru, Night Owl:

“Of course not. The early bird gets hunted first. I think it’s a matter of timing, right? And most people probably think grace gets delivered early in the morning. But grace is a random thing I think. So you can’t go around with a timetable in mind. You just have to be smart enough to recognize opportunity. That’s why the smart bird gets the worm.”

What’s your take?

Posted in Opinion


  1. 21 Comments

  2. Aileen Apolo said...

    I think it really depends on the industry that you are in. I became a night owl because of my work. I used to work in a very corporate environment and the game play is totally different. Now I am more flexible with my time. Well, scratch that, I need more time. Now, I’m an all day, all night person LOL.

    Jun 22, 2007

  3. Alfredo said...

    staying up late is the root of all evil? time’s changed. now people stay late to earn good living. well thank God my major client is only 2 hours ahead from PH time that means I don’t have to stay nights.

    Jun 22, 2007

  4. hoop said...

    I think it’s the bird that hunts worms 12/7 that becomes successful and not really about getting up early or late. This I realized after seeing first hand the work ethic of some very successful people πŸ˜€

    Jun 22, 2007

  5. brVince said...

    We just had our sharing my brothers and I shared about my difficulty this time. We wake up at 5 o’clock in the morning for prayer followed with other obligations, studies and so on as religious brothers. Yet for me, I am fully awake starting from after lunch until 12 midnight. Tough and I’m having a problem in my class in the morning, sleepy and funny I am πŸ˜€ But I believe that evening is my most productive (“fruitful” in our language)time to do lesson planning and even reflecting for blog entry. Different dynamics, bio-clocks but I’m worried; would it be for lifetime? It can’t be since a monk should start the day right! πŸ™‚ So who’s the early bird to catch the best worm? those who are still awake until early morning! πŸ˜€

    Jun 22, 2007

  6. suddenserenity said...

    nice post you have here.

    both cases natry ko na yan and I can say wala naman talaga pagkakaiba. I used to work 9-6 but then yung 12-2PM natutulog lng ako sa office (sila yosi break ako petiks moments LOL). Bawi naman ako sa gabi. Have you tried an office na meron sleeping quarters? he he saya ng ganun.

    in the philippines especially if you will be working in makati, kelangan early bird ka talaga kasi you really have to catch with rush hour traffic LOL.

    with my work now, i have to be an early bird because Im holding the keys sa office and i have team to look up into from 6-9. like Ms. Aileen, night owl rin ako kasi I have to sync with my partners EU time, meeting etc.

    the differnce i think is, during morning you can feel the sun, and its light gives me more energy (at least for me). Iba rin pakiramdam ng ligo sa umaga and ligo sa gabi. A night sleep is also better than day sleep.

    Jun 22, 2007

  7. Orochi said...

    I’m find myself being productive/efficient only when the sun has set. Been that way ever since college broke my body clock.

    Sleep is for the weak!

    Jun 22, 2007

  8. Jazzy said...

    I think in terms of time you rise or go to bed won’t really matter too much. But this proverbial saying can make a difference in terms of positioning yourself, career, business or ideas. You got the first mover advantage.

    Jun 22, 2007

  9. Ria Jose said...

    I guess, in the end, it all boils down to what suits you, your career and you life better. If you are happy as an early bird, then be an early bird. If you are happy as a night owl, then be happy as a night owl. Just don’t feel and act like you’re better or more superior than the other.

    Jun 22, 2007

  10. ericzoo said...

    correction OROCHI, sleep is for the rich! Since having more than three responsibilities several months ago, I am now a proud owner of two eye bags, I named Edi and Ella!

    Jun 22, 2007

  11. Dennis Agulo said...

    Early is relative.

    If you sleep at 4am and basically finished your job for the day while most are still on their bed snoring, then you probably would gather all the worms.

    It’s the timing that matters, the worm can be out anytime.

    Jun 23, 2007

  12. Jehzeel Laurente said...

    “That’s why the smart bird gets the worm.”
    Kuya Marc is definitely right! πŸ™‚

    “On a good day I wake at 12PM”
    Same here Kuya Andrew… I wake up late, and arrive late in the office, but I love to be late, and I can finish my daily tasks using my “alanganin” working hours.. sometimes 1pm to 3am, then I’ll sleep at 4am, wake up at 12noon… have lunch at 2pm, and log out at 3am sometimes 2:30 am. hahaha! and loving that daily weird routine.. nyehehe ^__^

    Again, the smart bird will definitely catch the worm… as kuya marc said ^_^

    Jun 23, 2007

  13. Mark said...

    In my case, I find that starting early in the day makes me more productive. Also, I like finishing early enough such that there’s still some sun left for relaxing.

    I agree with Aileen that it probably depends on the industry you work in. Although, perhaps it also depends on a whole lot of other factors.

    Jun 23, 2007

  14. j4s0n said...

    I’ll take two.

    Wake Up Early, Sleep Late. I guess that solves it.

    Jun 25, 2007

  15. fruityoaty said...

    Well, it depends on the job and industry…

    For example, I’ve been working at home since I transitioned about 2 years ago from 9-5 office to self-employed (I convinced my employer to become a client.)

    Setting my own hours means sometimes working late in the night (extending to early AM) and waking up extremely late in the morning (or rather, afternoon). My lifestyle is probably shortening my life, lol.

    Jun 27, 2007

  16. Blogie - Night Owl said...

    ‘Ika nga ni Obiwan Kenobi, “only Siths deal in absolutes.” My take on this is: don’t talk of ending (huwag magsalita ng patapos hahahaha!!!). Halata na bang wala pa akong tulog?? πŸ˜‰

    Jul 3, 2007

  17. Laura V said...

    Did you design this piece of art with the bird and worm? I really like it. I wish to get it touch with the artist. Please e-mail me back. This interest is of a timely nature. I will explain.
    Thanks

    Nov 12, 2007

  18. Macnerdzcare said...

    yah i think so coz if you rise early you will not miss some oppurtunities and you can dedicate more work time

    Dec 9, 2007

  19. Szuprowicz said...

    I sleep till 11 am because it makes sense.
    My ideas come to me in the middle of the night, wake me up and I get up and implement them or solve problem when they are known how to. Then I just sleep some more.

    Jun 7, 2010

  20. konccepts said...

    For a lot of work I have to stay before my PC at night . I generally sleep in the morning . It is not always true rising early has more opportunities .Working at day time is always not possible because of noise .But for general people it is recommended “early to bed – early to rise “

    Aug 11, 2010

  21. Shannon said...

    Hi there – I’m wondering if I can use your image of the bird and worm on my website? The name of my company is Soul Ways Consulting and I am considering pairing this image with the quote “Where is the soul in your organization? Its in that can of worms you don’t want to open (but know you need to).”

    Thanks for considering it –
    Shannon

    Sep 13, 2012


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