Even when you’re far from the office, how you spend your time can have a tremendous influence on your growth as a leader. Many of the things we do for fun—from sports to volunteering in our community—can help us develop leadership muscles we didn’t know we have.

Here are 5 weekend activities that will help make you a better leader.

Sleeping in.

If you’ve been putting in late nights at the office, sleep deprivation can catch up with you—leading you to make mistakes and poor decisions. A 2015 study at Washington State University found that when participants were asked to make decisions without sleeping for 62 hours, they made errors in judgment, no matter how hard they tried to avoid it.

You probably don’t go 62 hours without sleep very often, but even if you’re short-changing yourself by an hour each day, it can catch up with you. Experts recommend that most adults get 7 to 9 hours of shuteye a night, so if you’ve been skimping on sleep, don’t just rely on the weekends to catch up. Make sleep a priority during the week, too.

Working out.  

Regular exercise that gets your heart pumping appears to boost the hippocampus, the part of the brain that helps you with verbal memory and learning, according to recent research. The more brain power you can harness, the easier your job as a leader will be.

If long hours are wreaking havoc on your workout schedule, prioritizing fitness-related activities during the weekend can help you make up for lost time. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommends that healthy adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity—like walking, swimming or mowing the lawn–or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity like running—per week and that you spread this out over seven days. HHS also recommends that adults do two strength training workouts exercising all major muscle groups each week.

Life happens sometimes when you’re an entrepreneur. When your schedule goes off the rails, fitting in a couple of energetic workouts on the weekend will go a long way to reducing your stress and making a difference.


The weekends can be a great time to give back to the community, whether you coach your child’s sports team, help a nonprofit clean up local parks, volunteer at your house of worship or set aside time for pro bono professional work. Great leadership is all about service—and volunteer work is a fantastic reminder of the big picture.  

Spending time with family and friends.

If you constantly put your own personal time on the back burner, it’s easy to get caught up in a myopic view of the world where working is the only thing that matters. Planning unpressured time with your family and friends is essential to bringing a balanced perspective to work. Many entrepreneurs have a hard time reining in workaholic tendencies but it’s worth making the effort. With many employees valuing work-life balance today, setting a positive example on this front will earn you tremendous respect as a leader.


Many busy entrepreneurs can only get through a couple of pages of reading a night because they’re so busy during the week. Setting aside an hour to read a great book can help you infuse your company with new ideas. It doesn’t matter whether you spend time catching up on Shakespeare’s plays or a soon-to-be leadership classic. Everything you read will contribute to your general knowledge, helping you stay well-informed.

Can’t find time to curl up with a book? Consider getting a subscription to a service such as Audible, so you can listen to recorded books while driving around town doing errands or while you’re working out.

The days when any of us could rely on our past education alone are over. Given the pace of change today, achieving your personal best as a leader requires lifelong learning. The more you learn, the better a leader you will be—and reading is a big part of this.