I wonder if some of it also has to do with the mechanisms of tenure, which focus so much energy on things “counting.” I also struggle with figuring out what is Work and not just “work” — which is part of I think a “romantic ideology” of the academy — the idea that if we all just had X number of free hours we too could be geniuses. Reading does count — especially if I take notes. But if I’m reading without a pen in my hand, that’s iffy… But I really like your idea of counting anything that stimulates creative thinking.