Difference Between Task and Activity

We are all busy doing something or the other all through the day. Are the daily works that we do, tasks, or activities?


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In which category (task or activity) do works like playing the piano, doing school assignments, working on a project, taking your dog for a walk, etc. fall?

What are the main differences between these two quite similar terms?

Task vs Activity

The difference between task and activity is that a task is work that’s undertaken with a purpose to complete it while activity is simply an action with or without any purpose. An activity is a continuous process and doesn’t have a deadline while a task is undertaken for a certain duration of time and has a deadline. The word activity is primarily used as a noun while the word task can be used as a noun or a verb.

Task vs Activity

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A task requires supervision which is not at all necessary for an activity and a task requires more focus than an activity. Also, a task requires less energy, less time, and less amount of action compared to an activity that requires more energy, time, and action.

Comparison Table

Parameters of Comparison TaskActivity
Word meaningThe word task means work that’s undertaken and needs to be completed.Activity simply means an action taking place or some event that’s happening.
IntentionThere’s always an intention behind undertaking any task.There may or may not be a particular intention behind an activity that’s happening.
Used asThe word task is used as a noun or as a verb.The word activity is mainly used as a noun. 
Amount of action A task requires a lesser amount of action compared to an activity.An activity requires more action comparatively.
Amount of timeA task takes less time than an activity.An activity takes more time comparatively, as it is a continuous process.
Amount of focus A task needs more focus and needs to be done carefully. An activity needs less amount of focus than a task and can be done casually.
Amount of energyTask needs less energy than an activity.An activity requires more energy compared to a task.
DeadlineA task comes with a deadline.An activity doesn’t have any deadline.
FocusThe focus while performing a task is on its completion.The focus while performing an activity is on performing the activity itself. 

What is a Task?

A task is any work undertaken with a purpose. It can also be called an assignment and it’s meant to be completed.

An activity with some authority that is imposed on anyone can also be called a task. It can be used as a noun as well as a verb.

Some of the common day to day examples of task is as follows:

  1. A home assignment that is given in a classroom by the teacher to the students.
  2. An employee who is working on a project that’s to be submitted on a particular day.
  3. A cook who has to prepare the food before 8 p.m. 

A task is usually done under the supervision of someone and needs to be completed on time. It requires focus and there’s always an intention associated with it.

The main purpose of performing a task is to complete it in the given time duration.


What is an Activity?

An activity means taking an action or an event that is happening. It means to be in a motion and to be active signifying movement.

It is a never-ending process. Its plural form i.e. activities refer to an occupation or some kind of outdoor activity.

Some examples of activity are:

An activity is said to be continuous because it can be done for as long as you want and there’s no ending to it.

For example, you can sing for as long as you want unless your mom gets irritated. Activities don’t have deadlines and do not need any supervision.


Main Differences Between Task and Activity

  1. Any action that’s being performed is an activity while a task is a kind of work undertaken with a purpose.
  2. A task comes with a deadline and it is something that has to be completed while activity is a continuous process and doesn’t have an end.
  3. One has to be focused and indulged while performing a task while activity may or may not require that much focus.
  4. A task is performed with a purpose while activity is performed without any particular intention.
  5. A task generally requires supervision while an activity need not require supervision.
  6. The word task can be used as a verb as well as a noun while the word activity is generally used as a noun.
  7. A task needs lesser time, lesser energy, and lesser time compared to an activity while it requires more focus than an activity.
  8. While performing a task, the primary focus is on its completion while performing an activity, the primary focus is on performing it.
Difference Between Task and Activity
  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00140139008925340
  2. https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/978-94-009-4504-3_7.pdf
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