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RimWorld Guide: The BEST SCHEDULE

by AdamVsEverything | RimWorld Guides

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RimWorld Schedule Guide – The BEST RimWorld Schedule

Sick of your colonists breaking down or never getting work done? What if I told you there is a schedule that will make it so your colonist NEVER break down. Deceased relatives, pets gone, divorced, your colonist won’t even care.

This is longer than my normal RimWorld guide content but is a massive topic. I’ve included a ton of timestamps so you can jump around as needed. You can also read the text version of the guide over at my website:

Huge thanks to MortalSmurph on my Discord, as this is a joint guide we’ve made.

[Video Transcript – Rough Draft may contain typos!]

RimWorld Scheduling

Hey everyone, Adam here with a Rimworld schedule guide. I often tell people that the best and most powerful thing I’ve ever developed in RimWorld is the biphasic schedule. I’ve been using it for 3-4 years and it is a game changer. However, biphasic isn’t always the best schedule. So in this RimWorld guide I will be talking about all things scheduling. So, if you’ve been asking yourself ‘What is the best schedule’ or ‘how do I set up scheduling’, you’ve come to the right place!

Well then,  “What is the best schedule?”  Like many questions in Rimworld, the answer is “it”.

If you want a terrific all around schedule that you can use for everyone all the time, I recommend my Biphasic schedule.  It has an incredibly powerful effect on mood and the schedule is extremely robust to the insane scenarios that happen in Rimworld.

The Biphasic schedule isn’t really the “best schedule”.  The best schedule is one you customize based on a ton of factors such as the balance of productivity & mood, your colonists overall average mood, how much sleep your colonist needs, your colonists jobs, your base layout and even how much your colonists hate each other.  In this example, I customized the Biphasic Schedule.

This Biphasic schedule is great choice for essentially everyone: Set everything to Anything.  Start at hour 11.  Set 4 blocks of Sleep: 11-12-13-14.  Jump to right before midnight: 23: sleep.  Then 0-1-2 sleep.  Then, put 2 recreation BEFORE each block of Sleep: Recreation 9-10 and 21-22.  That’s the simple, “fits everyone just fine”, you don’t have to think about it, Biphasic Schedule.  It is so powerful that you can even slap it on your nightowls and they will still be happier on average than a typical ‘night owl schedule’.

The main reason for using the biphasic schedule is its a huge increase to mood.  Click a colonist.  Click the Needs Tab.  The Biphasic has significant effects on these 3 bars: Rest, Recreation and Comfort.  Each notch on these bars corresponds to a different mood amount.  For example, here’s the Recreation Meter and here’s the different Thoughts between notches.  The Biphasic schedule fills this Recreation meter twice a day.  What most players call a standard Rimworld schedule fills all these once a day. 

This double-fill-up helps increase mood because 1) the colonist is at these high mood notches of comfort and recreation twice, and 2) the 3 bars of recreation, rest and comfort won’t fall as far.  Each of those 3 bars falls at a steady rate.  After 16 hours awake, a standard schedule has these 3 meters here.  The Biphasic schedule will never let these bars get so low because recreation, rest and comfort are refilled every 12 hours. Mood is higher because BOTH these meters are at the top more AND these meters never drop as low. 

Here’s two copies of the same colonist in the same base with the same jobs.  On the right: biphasic schedule.  On the left: standard schedule.  Watch the mood bars as the day progresses.  Watch as the Biphasic mood bar gets a boost from the mid-day nap. 

Generally, the biphasic schedule will have about this much effect on mood relative to a standard schedule. 

However, the Biphasic schedule does come at the cost of some productivity.  In this example, the Biphasic schedule mined 19 squares of steel.  The standard schedule mined 23 squares of steel.  This example’s difference in productivity was about 20%.  These schedules virtually always have the same amount of sleep per day: total amount of sleep was NOT a factor. 

The first big choice in Scheduling: Mood verse Productivity.  Generally, the standard schedule will give more productivity.  Generally, the biphasic schedule will give more mood.  Depending on so many factors you may care about mood more or productivity more.

The original reason I developed the biphasic schedule was that I found myself losing during raids not because of the actual combat, but because they would happen later in the day when everyone was at their lowest moods and energy. I’d often have breakdowns during raids and end up losing colonists or the entire run. Depending on your play style, difficulty settings, etc, this may not be as much of an issue for you. As such, I’m also going to teach you about more potential schedules that have different costs and benefits that may align with your game play. 

My general rule of thumb would be “you want enough mood to avoid all mental breaks, including minor mental breaks”.  There’s no simple number for how much mood that would be as the circumstances and pawn types vary so much in RimWorld. 

What is good to keep in mind is that Mood does NOT change instantly.  Mood can ONLY fall 8 per hour.  In this example, the Biphasic schedule is 12 mood over the minor break threshold.  That’s an hour and a half before minor breaks are even possible.  -99 Psychic Droner?  Still an hour and a half before Minor break territory.  At this moment in time, the colonist on Standard schedule is at 24 mood.  The Biphasic is at 47 mood.  That’s 23 mood.  The difference in mood isn’t always going to be that big and it changes depending on tons of factors.  It’s virtually impossible to calculate the exact mood difference because, as I always say with RimWorld – it depends. 

In my totally unscientific, not based on math guesstimation from experience, I’m going to say the difference in mood on a Biphasic schedule versus a Standard Schedule is about 16.  That’s 2 hours of mood falling.  A long fight like this one is going to generate many mood debuffs like:  .  That’s what the Biphasic schedule gives you: 2 additional hours of drafting your colonists and making them suffer when things in Rimworld get terrible. 

One reason for the difference in productivity is Light.  The Biphasic schedule is sometimes going to cause colonists to work in the dark more often.  In this example, the Biphasic schedule colonist did work more in the Dark. The super short summary of Light is that you should consider working in the dark to mean:  Lazy, 4 copies of the slowpoke trait, and Pessimist.   Night Owl and Undergrounder essentially remove the pessimist trait from working in the dark but they do NOT remove work speed and move speed penalties. 

The majority of the difference in productivity in this example comes from the Biphasic Schedule’s additional walking trip.  Walking trips are time wasted.  Time spent walking is time NOT spent working.  If this example was very close, then walking trips wouldn’t be a significant factor.  If this example was further away, then walking trips would be an even more significant factor.  Again, how much you care about walking trips is part of that “it depends” I mentioned. Maybe your base is very compact and walking is minimal, for instance. 

Recreation and Sleep are paired up to minimize the walking trips.  When your colonist walks back home from work you want them to fully fill up all 3 of Rest, Recreation and Comfort.  If Recreation was separate from Rest, then there would be another walking trip.  For clarity: I am calling the walk home AND the walk back to work together as one singular walking trip.  I’m also assuming beds and recreation are close together. 

On a schedule like this one, with recreation in the middle of the day, now there are two walking trips.  One walking trip to fill up recreation.  Then another walking trip home to sleep.  Simply by putting the Recreation and Rest together we have eliminated the walking trip and thus increased productivity. 

Whether you have Recreation before sleep, or after, or both, is mostly personal preference. Personally, I prefer scheduling recreation before sleep.  I would consider all of these schedules the “Standard schedule” and they all are, potentially, just fine.  Whether you have 1, 2 or 3 bars of recreation, does matter and the answer will depend on several factors.  The key overall concept is on 1) One walking trip.  2) Fully fill up ALL of Recreation, Rest and Comfort on that walking trip. 

In this example, I am using 1 bar of recreation.  The colonist notices recreation.  The colonist walks home.  The colonist fills up recreation.  Then the colonist goes to sleep.  In this example, one bar was just right. 

If I set recreation to two bars, in this example, the colonist will often make an extra walking trip.  The colonist fills up their recreation meter before the schedule gets set to sleep.  The colonist then walks back to work, mines one rock, then walks all the way back to bed.  That’s time wasted.  In this specific example, two bars is too big. 

In this example I set the colonist to hunting.  In this specific example, two bars is too small.  The colonist ends up hunting through the entire double bar of recreation and misses recreation entirely.  They go to sleep with recreation unfilled. 

Sometimes one recreation will be just right.  Sometimes two recreation will be just right.  And sometimes, you may even need 3.  The answer will be different for each colonist and job combination.  Unfortunately, the answer also may be different on different days for the same colonist.  You may not get the answer just right every time and that is okay. 

Watch your colonists. Take your best guess of what works most of the time for you. You also may have more luck doing recreation before sleep, or after sleep, or both.  As long as you are following the key concept: “One walking trip, fill up all the bars”, you are doing it right. 

If you are unsure, or you want a simple answer, I’d suggest just going with 2 before sleep.

Smurph, from my Discord, who helps with many f the guides for my channel has made this handy chart that shows the mechanics of each scheduling option.  Feel free to pause to use as a reference or head over to my website at / guides. 

Meditation is only available with the Royalty DLC.  Exact job selection is a little more complicated than shown here: some things, like Firefighting, may override the scheduling choices entirely. 

The most important thing to learn from this infographic is that Work and Meditation WAKE UP a colonist that is asleep.   A colonist waking up before filling up their Rest bar goes against that most important Rule: “One walking trip, fill the bars”.  Meditation and Work AFTER sleep DOES matter and may cause issues with unfilled Rest bars. 

The next notable thing is the difference between “Anything” and “Work”.  “Anything” essentially means “Fix your problems.  If there are no problems, then work.”  Work means “Ignore your problems.  Work.”  Generally, I recommend having colonists automatically fix their recreation and rest problems.  That is why I generally recommend NOT scheduling Work.  However, there may be times where you want your colonists to specifically ignore their problems.  In those situations, use Work. 

Another thing I’d like to point out is the Thresholds for Sleep.  When Sleep is scheduled, a colonist will only Sleep if their Rest bar is below 75%.  A Rest bar takes almost 4 hours to go from 100% Rest to 75% Rest.  Also, a Colonist will sleep through Recreation and Anything if their Rest bar is not yet full.  You don’t have to get Sleep exactly right.  Your colonist will automatically sleep until Full Rest bar as long as you set Anything or Recreation after sleep. 

Here’s 6 Colonists who all fall asleep at the same time and each has a different number of Sleep Bars scheduled.  They all wake up when their Rest hits 100%.  Even the ones who are scheduled to continue to Sleep don’t immediately Sleep again because the Rest meter is still above 75%. 

Getting Sleep exactly right doesn’t matter because the thresholds are very forgiving.

Getting Recreation exactly right matters because Recreation can cause additional walking trips. 

I recommend your Scheduling process be 3 steps:

1) Choose: How much you care about Mood, Productivity, Light or any other major factor. 

Here are some examples of general, base Schedules that need to be tweaked.  Higher on the list means more productivity but less mood.  Lower on the list means more mood but less productivity.  There are many other great schedules that aren’t shown here. 

2) Tweak: Adjust the precise amounts of Recreation following the “One Walking Trip: Fill Bars” general rule. 

This is where we decide Recreation before or After bed and also 1, 2, or 3 bars of Recreation.  Remember, there’s no simple answer.  This will heavily depend on your colonist, their jobs, and base layout.  If you want a general good guess, I recommend 2 recreation before each block of sleep. 

3) Shift the schedule accordingly. 

The most well known shift is the “Night Owl”.  That simply takes the standard schedule and shifts it about 12 hours.  The two main other reasons to shift schedules are Light and how much your pawns hate each other. 

The short of Light is that Midnight is the center point of darkness.  Generally, on each side of midnight are 5 hours of darkness.  That can change based on time of year and distance from the equator.  Generally, if you have colonists working outdoors, try to schedule as much of their recreation and rest inside this darkness period to avoid the mood, movement speed, and workspeed penalties of darkness.  If your colonist doesn’t work in the dark then you don’t have to consider light. 

Social Interactions in Rimworld get quite complicated.  There are 3 things we can somewhat minimize via Schedule Shifting: Insults, Social Fights, and Rebuffs.  The super short summary of these social interactions is that the more your colonists dislike each other, the more likely bad things, like these, are to happen when colonists are within 6 tiles of each other.  Shift the schedules of colonists likely to have issues to minimize their chances of seeing each other and having these things happen. 

Let’s take our 3 step process: Choose → Tweak → Shift and apply it to some example scenarios you may face. 

Example 1: Start of Game

Choose: Between Initial Optimism, Low Expectations, and a simple setup like this with flowers on the ground, mood can be under control.  Choose: Productivity and Light.  I recommend a standard 1 sleep schedule just like the default. 

Tweak → I’m going to start with 2 Recreation before sleep.  Let’s see how it goes. 

Hunter’s recreation is perfect on this specific day in this specific example base.  Hunter walked home, did recreation and immediately went to sleep.  For Hunter, 2 is just right today. 

In this example, 2 Recreation before sleep is NOT perfect for Chef.  Chef stops planting and walks home to do recreation.  Chef fills their recreation meter and is still on Recreation, so they go back to work.  They plant 1 Healroot and then go to bed.  That’s an extra walking trip.  However, it’s a very short walking trip.  It may not be worth fixing. 

There’s no simple, always right, answer to how much recreation.  You may have more luck doing recreation after sleep, or both before and after sleep.  You also may not care much about the walking trips.  In this example Chef’s walking trip is so short that it isn’t a big deal.  If you don’t care about walking trips and do care about mood, feel free to guestimate on the higher end.  If you don’t care about mood and do care about walking trips, make it a little shorter. 

Try your best to follow the “one walking trip, fill up recreation, rest and comfort” general rule.  If you aren’t sure or don’t want to deal with it, just do 2 recreation before sleep. 

Shift → Since Light Matters, we’ll shift all 3 standard schedules one hour early to fit their 8 hours of sleep and 2 hours of recreation entirely in the 10 hours of darkness. 

Hunter is staggeringly ugly, creepy breathing bloodlust pawn.  Let’s shift Hunter’s schedule a bit over to minimize social issues like social fights, insults and rebuffs.  The shift will cause the colonists to interact with each other less because they do recreation at different times.  The shift causes some of the recreation and sleep to be out of the 10 hours of  Darkness but the social issues are more important here. 

Example 2: What if Constructor is Very Neurotic, Tortured Artist.  That’s a -22 Total mood penalty.

Choose: Light matters a lot but having higher mood matters more, here.  Let’s add a second block of recreation in the middle of the day.  That adds a second walking trip but preserves working outdoors in the light and helps increase mood.  Sometimes, rules like “One walking trip, fill up all 3 of rest, recreation and comfort” have exceptions.  An extreme scenario like this one would be an exception. 

Tweak → Same concept of watching the walking trips.

Shift → Same concept of Light and Social issues as before. 

Example 3: What if the Chef/Research is a Very Neurotic Tortured Artist? 

Choose: The furthest Chef walks from the base is to help planting at times.  They spend most of their time Cooking and Researching in the light. 

Mood matters more than Light and more than walking trips.  Time for the Biphasic schedule. 

The Tweak and Shift steps are still the same as before.  The Biphasic schedule is very easy to fit into the standard 10 hours of darkness.  Shift it to wherever you like.  If you settle far from the equator, try to fit one part of the Biphasic’s Rest and Recreation around midnight. 

Example 4:  Hunter has got Muscle Parasites.  That’s likely mood hits of -5 Sick and -10 Intense Pain.  Also, the Rest Fall Rate increase means this pawn can’t handle a standard 24 hour, 1 long sleep schedule.  A standard colonist can stay awake for about 16-18 hours before they get negative Drowsy thoughts.  A standard colonist in most beds sleeps for 6-8 hours.  That’s a 24 hour schedule: about 16 awake plus 8 asleep.  A Parasite or Mechanite colonist can only stay awake about 10 hours before the penalties.  Then they need 8-10 hours of sleep.  That’s 20 hours.  That doesn’t fit in a standard, 24 hour, one sleep schedule. 

Choose:  Biphasic.  Mood is an issue.  Standard one sleep schedule doesn’t work.  The Biphasic schedule is essentially tailor made for Muscle Parasites and Mechanites. 

Tweak and Shift same as before.  Hunter is the Staggeringly Ugly, Bloodlust, Creepy Breather.  Make sure they are offset from the others.

We started with a Standard schedule with 2 recreation for each colonist.  Then we added some traits and some health conditions.  Now our 3 colonists schedules look like this… 

Example 5: Quick Sleeper, Excellent quality beds, or anyone with reduced sleep needs. 

A Quick Sleeper colonist in an excellent bed needs a little less than 5 hours of sleep.  Like a regular healthy colonist, a quick sleeper can stay awake for 18 hours before getting the Drowsy mood penalty.  That’s 23 hours in total.  Quick Sleeper Trait, extreme quality beds, and other bonuses can cause a 24 hour schedule to not be a perfect fit. 

Option 1: If light matters, and mood is good, stick with the standard schedule.  Light can be more important than the occasional Drowsy thought or quick nap.

Option 2: If mood matters more, go to the Biphasic Schedule.  The quick sleeper will take two very short naps.  Total sleep time will be the same.  Sleep will simply be split into two parts and be more consistent.  No more drowsy thoughts or occasional naps. 

Option 3: If mood is great, and light doesn’t matter, you can go to the All Anything schedule.  Let them work as much as they can and solve any problems that arise on their own.  All Anything means your colonist will automatically fix Rest or Recreation when it gets low. 

Example 6: Forced Work Miner 

This example base needs Plasteel and the only place to get it is this Deep Drill far from the base.  Someone needs to work here, it’s a long walk, and if they break we’ll send someone else to do it. We NEEd that plasteel. 

Time to schedule work.  You could consider BiPhasic Work which allows a mid-day meter fill up but costs an additional walking trip. 

Keep in mind that this person will ignore their problems on the work schedule.  If something terrible happens and they miss either sleep or recreation they aren’t going to fix it.  In this example, we don’t care.  The plasteel won’t mine itself and we need it, now.  Schedule the work! 

The recreation paired with sleep fills up all the meters in one walking trip.  The Anything after sleep allows a colonist to possibly get more sleep if needed, or hit recreation if it was missed, or start working if everything is good. 

Example 7: Triphasic 

Sometimes there are serious mood problems that are so significant that productivity does not matter.  All that matters is keeping these colonists from mentally breaking. 

There’s a High Psychic Drone and our male colonists are NOT having a good day.

This colonist’s spouse died.  They are going to be extremely unhappy for 30 days. 

We’ve accepted a quest with visitors who expect good accommodations and won’t do any work.  The only thing that matters is keeping them happy. 

Scheduling can significantly help with mood for all of these colonists.  We’re going past Biphasic and bringing out the elusive, emergency Triphasic schedule! With this, we’re going to try to keep the Comfort bar in the +10 mood range and the Recreation meter in the +10 mood range. 

The Triphasic schedule is 3 Sleep.  5 Recreation.  Repeat 3 times.  On the triphasic schedule the colonist will repeatedly fill up their comfort meter by hopping into bed every 8 hours.  While awake, the colonist will refill their recreation meter anytime it drops below 95%.  Essentially, the colonist will perform one or two work tasks and then do recreation again.  Productivity will be significantly reduced due to all the walking trips for recreation.  The triphasic schedule is for when mood is the only thing that matters. 

We can maximize the Triphasic schedule’s mood boost with zoning and beauty.  The colonist’s surrounding beauty meter is different, but similar, to the beauty stat found in the room statistics.  By default you can press the “T” key, or hit the tiny “Toggle Beauty Display” button in the lower right corner to see the range of beauty.  Hover your mouse over any location.  When your colonist stands in that location their beauty meter is affected by anything that displays a number.

The number to focus on is the “Beauty here:” number.  Anytime your colonists are in a 6 beauty tile they can have a +15! Gorgeous environment thought.  Flowers or Fancy Floors can significantly increase the Beauty room stat and let you reach Impressive rooms easily.  However, Flowers, Fancy Floors and similar things will likely NOT let you reach 6 beauty in most single tiles.  This room with Flowers is Somewhat Impressive but only reaches 2 Beauty Here.  Switch to an expensive Fine Carpet and the room reaches “Extremely Impressive” but the “Beauty Here” number only reaches 3.5.  That’s only good enough for +5 Pretty Environment.  We want to get to +15 Gorgeous Environment. 

The standard option to reach 6+ Beauty Here is using Sculptures.  Strategically position the sculptures to maximize the effect of their Beauty.  Place the Sculpture so that its Beauty covers areas where your colonists frequent while awake.  The key areas to Beautify with Sculptures  are Dining Room tables and recreation furniture.  Keep adding Sculptures until those areas all hit 6 Beauty.  If the room is larger than a narrow hallway the colonist will also have a +5 Spacious interior thought. 

Now ensure the mood-needy colonists are restricted to only the essential locations.  Make a zone that includes their bed, food, and the beautified dining and recreation area.  Using the Triphasic schedule and zoning our mood needy colonists can get these mood buffs near permanently:

+10 Recreation Fully Satisfied

+10 Luxuriantly Comfortable

+15 Gorgeous Environment
+5 Spacious Interior

That’s +40! Mood and we haven’t included Impressive Dining and Recreation rooms buff yet. 

Let’s apply these techniques and murder this colonist’s spouse and dog … for science!  This concrete floored combo barracks, dining, and recreation room has a bunch of fairly easily made wooden sculptures.  We’ve strategically placed the Sculptures near the table and recreation.  Beauty hits 6.  We’ll make a zone to restrict this colonist to the nearby area and set them to Triphasic.  Let’s watch their mood. Wow, look at that, it’s like he never even had a family or pets! 

As I said earlier, there is no singular best way to Schedule your colonists.  Different colonists, base layouts and play styles will have very different needs. 

First, choose what things are most important to you: Productivity, Mood, Light?  Pick a type of schedule that fits your needs.  Options include the Standard Schedule, the forced Work Schedule, the All Anything Schedule, biphasic, or even Triphasic.  Other schedules not shown here can be fantastic options as well – there’s no one way to play. 

If you want a Schedule that works well for everyone, virtually all the time and that you really just never have to think about, then put everyone on the standard Biphasic schedule: 2 recreation followed by 4 sleep then 6 Anything. 

That schedule is extremely good, but if you want to take the extra time and effort, you can do better by choosing the schedule that is right for you and the specific colonist, then Tweaking and Shifting it according to the specific scenario.  Scheduling options are so powerful that your pawns can have a murdered spouse and dog and it doesn’t matter, they’ll never break down. 


And that does it! Hopefully this rimworld schedule guide has helped you to understand scheduling in RimWorld and choose the BEST SCHEDULE for you. 

If you enjoyed this Rimworld guide or it helped you out at all please consider subscribing to the channel, liking the video, leaving a comment down below, and sharing it with others. If you’d like to reference a written version of this guide be sure to head over to my website at

And, as always, thanks for watching!

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  1. RimWorld Scheduling Mechanics Infographic | Adam Vs Everything - […] This RimWorld infographic was taken from my complete guide on scheduling which you can find by CLICKING HERE. […]

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