What can we learn from the Spongebob procrastination episode?

Spongebob procastination

Kids’ TV shows may not be the first place you’d think of going for life advice, but you can sometimes find the most helpful things in the most unlikely of places. While Spongebob Squarepants is most often a silly TV show with a handful of laughs for kids and adults, watching an episode can also be a teachable moment — especially if it’s the procrastination episode. 


The Spongebob procrastination episode begins when Spongebob is in boating school and receives a homework assignment to write an 800-word essay on what you shouldn’t do at a stoplight. Spongebob is really excited and motivated to get started on the essay at the beginning and sets out all his materials in his workspace, so he’s got everything he needs to complete it within easy reach.

When he sits down to do the assignment, he can’t think of anything to write. Instead, he gazes out the window and mournfully watches his friends playing, knowing that he can’t join in.

To get rid of his writer’s block, Spongebob decides he needs to create the right atmosphere for writing. By doing so, he essential does everything possible except for sitting down and completing the essay. Even Patrick acknowledges that he’s making every excuse there is to avoid it.

No matter how hard Spongebob tries to procrastinate, he keeps getting reminders to get back to work. The mailman tells him to finish the essay, the newscaster on TV tells him to complete it, and even his house becomes sentient and tells him not to waste time.

By the time Spongebob eventually sits down to begin his essay, he sees that there are only five minutes left until his class begins and he panics. At this point, he realizes that everything he’s spent his day doing is what you shouldn’t do at a stoplight. This gives him the inspiration needed to complete his essay.

When he hands it in, his teacher Mirs. Puff says that due to a convention, the assignment has been cancelled and the class is going on a field trip instead. At this news, Spongebob tears up his essay and splits himself in half.


While you could argue that Spongebob left his assignment until the last minute and still managed to complete it, that’s not the bit the producers of the show really want you to focus on. The message behind the episode isn’t that things will be fine if you put them off for long enough. Instead, the episode aims to show all the intensity, anxiety, pressure, and terror Spongebob created by putting off what he knew he had to do

At first, Spongebob is passionate about completing the essay. But then he starts to procrastinate and experiences the existential horror that comes with it, such as the delusions that his house is burning down. 

By putting off writing his essay, Spongebob’s mind essential goes into danger mode and he begins to assume the worst. The longer he puts off the task, the bigger and more impossible it becomes in his mind. When he actually sat down and worked on it, he discovered it was much easier than he had built it up to be.


Procrastination often comes about due to your negative emotional responses to something. This means you typically put off a task because something negative has happened in the past when you did it. In terms of an essay, this could be that you were bored when writing it, you found it difficult, and you received a bad grade. You don’t want to be bored, struggle to do something, or receive a bad grade again, so you avoid writing the essay.

This happens a lot. If you think something is simple at the beginning, but you don’t get started on it quickly, your mind starts playing tricks on you. It makes you think that it’s more difficult, more time-consuming, or just more unpleasant than it really is. This makes you procrastinate even more. 

Because of procrastination, a quick and simple task becomes a huge scary thing that you think you can’t handle


The obvious lesson in this episode is that procrastination is bad and should be avoided. But there are more subtle things we can learn, too:

  • Procrastination exists and it’s something you need to deal with
  • It’s much quicker to get to work and complete the task than procrastinate
  • You should listen to that little voice in your head telling you to get back to work
  • The longer you put off a task, the worse you’ll think it is
  • You’ll enjoy a great sense of achievement when you finish the task

Don’t procrastinate today

If you’re struggling with procrastination and you’re ready to overcome your problems and grow as a person, get in touch with us today. Our Cyti therapists are trained to help with a great number of issues, including chronic procrastination. Nip this bad habit in the bud and make your first appointment right now while you’re feeling motivated.

When you’ve worked through your procrastination tendencies and have developed the self-motivational skills you need to get things done, you’ll be glad you didn’t put it off.

About the author: Krystie Hudson

Krystie’s favorite types of therapy to use with her clients are EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) and SFT (Solution Focused Therapy).  She also incorporates Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Internal Family Systems with clients as needed.  She prefers to work with clients ages 14-100.  She is especially skilled with trauma and parenting problems/support, family issues.

Read more about Krystie here >>

The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. If you are in a crisis or any other person may be in danger,  these resources can provide you with immediate help:
Suicide and Crisis Lifeline 988
24 Hour Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1.800.273.8255
Crisis Text Line Text TALK to 741741