Why Robert Herrera takes an hour a day to do anything but the task at hand - Technical.ly Delaware

Company Culture

Nov. 22, 2016 11:28 am

Why Robert Herrera takes an hour a day to do anything but the task at hand

From email management to music the motivates him, The Mill's cofounder tells us what helps him perform at his peak productivity.
Lenox Health Greenwich Village in New York, one of Robert Herrera’s former projects.

Lenox Health Greenwich Village in New York, one of Robert Herrera's former projects.

(Photo by Chris Cooper, courtesy of Perkins Eastman)

There are secrets that entrepreneurs hold onto to provide structure for their ever-changing schedules. Which is why we’re bringing back our “How I Work” series, which has highlighted people like Dogfish Head’s founder Sam CalagioneFirst Ascent Design’s cofounder Pauline Himics and Squatch Creative’s developer Randy Neil.

Around this time last year, The Mill cofounder Robert Herrera began construction on the coworking space nestled on the fourth floor of the old Nemours building in downtown Wilmington. You may recognize his face from seeing him run around The Mill, or if you’ve been in Delaware long enough, you may recognize him from his youth downstate in Dover, where Herrera is originally from. After college, Herrera went on to work for New York City-based architecture firm Perkins Eastman for a few years before coming back home to the Diamond State last year.

Here’s a look inside how Herrera gets his work done on a daily basis.


What’s the first thing you do every day before doing any job-related work?

Fix my kids breakfast, it’s a point of pride. It’s the one thing that I do that helps me connect with my kids while running a startup.

How often do you check your email and do you use any program to get to ‘Inbox Zero’?

I check my email first thing in the morning before even leaving for the office, it helps get organized and prioritize my day. Then I force myself not to respond to emails until later in the day. I find email can be incredibly distracting if you let it take over. I use an email management tool called SaneBox, which was recommended by a friend, it does help keep you sane.


When you need to take a break, what are you turning to?

Used to be soccer, it helped me step away from the little things that drag me down. Nowadays, it’s my children. I cram a lot into every day but I make sure I get home before they go to bed at night.

What’s one way in which you believe your day-to-day work is better now than it has been? Is there something you do now (or don’t do) that you didn’t do before (or did) that has made a big difference?

The biggest change I made over the last year is designating an hour each day to do something other than the task at hand. Usually, I walk around a bit right after lunch, talk with members and think of new ideas and just focus on big picture-type stuff. It’s easy to get lost in the day to day of things. It’s important for startups to force themselves to step away for a bit.

What’s your preferred workday soundtrack? Do any particular artists, bands or genres boost your productivity?

I have a pretty diverse taste in music. Some days it could be classical composer Handel and the next day Jack White, followed by Jay-Z. My music collection is laughably incohesive and unorganized.

Companies: The Mill

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