What Elon Musk, Mark Cuban, and 11 other successful people do on weekends

Richard Branson on Knowing Your Weaknesses
Richard Branson on Knowing Your Weaknesses

For some, the weekend's a sacred retreat from the hustle and bustle of work.

For others, the weekend is a myth — Saturday and Sunday are mere extensions of the workweek and a chance to get ahead of the competition.

Judging from the ways successful people spend their — at least theoretical — time away from work, there really is no right or wrong way to structure your weekends. It's all about striking the right balance for you.

Here's how some of the most successful people do it:

Richard Branson hangs out on his island in the Caribbean.

Credit: AP

While Branson told the Telegraph he spends half the year traveling the world on business trips, he said he spends the other half on his tiny private Caribbean island, Necker.

"I know I shouldn't, but I still like to party on Friday nights," he admitted. The business mogul said he dances until the wee hours of the morning to the sounds of the island's band, the Front Line, and heads to the crow's nest on his roof around 2 a.m. to watch the stars.

Despite being up late, Branson still wakes up early, usually before everyone else, and goes for a swim around the island.

"It's exquisitely beautiful; I'll see spotted eagle rays, giant leatherback turtles and a number of species of shark, such as nurse sharks and lemon sharks," he told the Telegraph. "It's not frightening; if you're swimming with sharks they don't tend to bother you at all, it's only if they mistake you for a seal that they might have a nip."

His morning swim is usually followed by a healthy breakfast of fruit salad or natural muesli, though on occasion he spoils himself with kippers or an English breakfast.

The day's activities could include tennis, kitesurfing, scuba diving, or hanging out with dolphins and whales in his tiny submarine. But Branson said afternoons are always spent on the beach, oftentimes playing chess with his kids.

Saturday evenings consist of more partying, and Sundays include rock jumping, paddle boarding, and boat races, Branson told the Telegraph

Elon Musk spends time with his children.


Musk, the billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, has five sons, with whom, he told Mashable, he hangs out on the weekends.

But he also admitted at South by Southwest in 2013 that some of this "quality time" is spent sending emails.

"Because they don't need constant interaction, except when we're talking directly," he said. "I find I can be with them and still be working at the same time."

Arianna Huffington catches up on email.


Though she admits that she likes to go through her inbox Saturdays, the "Thrive" author has said she never expects a response from her staff.

"If I send an email at 11 at night, it's to get it off my to-do list, but I don't expect a reply," she told Mashable. "And I make that very clear, I don't expect replies over the weekend."

Jack Dorsey hikes and prepares for the week.

In 2011, when Jack Dorsey was running Twitter and Square full-time, the cofounder told the audience at Techonomy 2011 that, to get it all done, he gave each day a theme. This allowed him to quickly recall and refocus on the day's task once distractions were out of the way.

Dorsey said he would take Saturday off to hike and spend Sunday focusing on reflections, feedback, strategy, and getting ready for the rest of the week.

Now that he's back running both companies, there's a good chance theme days could come in handy again.

Makeup artist turned entrepreneur Bobbi Brown spends her Sundays walking, shopping, and socializing with family.


Even when she's not running her beauty empire, Brown told the New York Times she still wakes up around 6:30 a.m. and heads to the kitchen for a green juice and then a double espresso. She'll follow this by checking emails, reading The New York Times and The New York Post, and checking in on Yahoo Beauty, of which she was editor-in-chief for about two years.

The rest of her Sunday, however, is spent meandering the streets of Brooklyn with her husband, brunching and shopping with her kids, and having dinner with some of the extended family.

Bill Gates mellows out.

During a Reddit AMA last year, the billionaire Microsoft cofounder told readers that he had just spent his weekend watching his daughter ride horses and enjoying some old-fashioned fun.

"Twenty years ago I would stay in the office for days at a time and not think twice about it — so I had energy and naivete on my side," he said. "Now hopefully I am a bit more mellow but with a little extra wisdom."

Rachel Maddow ditches her New York City apartment for the country.


The political journalist told People that she, her girlfriend Susan Mikula, and English Lab occupy a 275-square-foot Manhattan apartment during the week when Maddow tapes her show.

During the weekends, though, they drive three hours so they can retreat to their country home in western Massachusetts.

"Having a place out of the city is a shortcut toward the mental reset I need," Maddow told People. She also loves spending her Saturdays reading comic books.

Mark Cuban tries not to spoil his kids.


The billionaire entrepreneur and "Shark Tank" cohost told the audience at South by Southwest 2014 that he and his wife try to maintain as normal a home life as possible, especially on the weekends:

"On the weekends we have [a nanny] in the morning, so Tiff and I go work out Saturday mornings. Then the rest of the weekend it's just us. It's us putting them to bed. It's us at dinner. We try to be as normal as possible. The whole idea of someone serving you, this and that, that's not us."

Malcolm Gladwell enjoys leisurely Sundays reading and drinking tea.


The best-selling author of "Outliers" and "David and Goliath"spends his Sundays drinking tea, reading the newspaper, going for a stroll, going out to brunch, or watching HBO and sports and, as he told HuffPost Black Voices, "I give thanks for all that I've been given."

Soledad O'Brien mixes work with pleasure.

The journalist wakes on the weekend at 6 a.m. and is in bed by 9 p.m. She often works out, spends time on her charity, and goes horseback riding, she told The New York Times.

Sergey Brin does various acrobatic things.

In his spare time, the Google cofounder likes to push his body to the limit in any way he can. This includes roller hockey, ultimate Frisbee, gymnastics, skydiving, and high-flying trapeze.

Adam Nash goes on dates.

The Wealthfront CEO said on Quora that he and his wife are big believers in date nights. He says it's amazing how wonderful a few hours over dinner and drinks can be.

"There really aren't fixed time boundaries between your professional and personal life," he explained. "That being said, we are all human, and I think you'll see that most of the time I spend on weekends is focused on spending time with people. It's the way I recharge, and it's also the way I keep perspective."

Tim Gunn spends his Sunday's soaking up art.


The "Project Runway" cohost and mentor told The New York Times that he spends every Sunday at the Metropolitan Museum — "I stay there basically until the museum is about to close."

He dons a suit — "I want to prepare myself properly" — and walks through Central Park to get there.

"I'm a huge lover of art," he explained. "I go to the Greek and Roman galleries first. I'll choose different objects to fixate upon. A trip to the Met can be very emotional. There are paintings there that just lift me off the ground. I feel buoyant."

He then heads to the Balcony Lounge for a glass or two of wine and tea sandwiches and pulls out his iPad to research what he's just seen. "I have become insatiable on the topic of ancient Rome."

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Originally published