Time and again, I find myself facing tons of problems with this question.
Someone taught me this. Where every move can make or break your game, the solution is to simply, make the following line of thought:
1. If I give a free move and it was my opponent's turn, what is my opponent likely to do?
a. Is my king under attack?
b. Are any of my other major/minor pieces under attack?
c. Would any pawn push cause me great difficulty in defence/attack/counterplay?
d. Would the movement of any of my opponent's pieces break my position?
e. Did my opponent's last 3 moves threaten to do anything?
2. If the answer is no, then you would consider how to attack.
a. What is the weakest piece in my opponent's camp?
b. What is the weakest square in my opponent's camp?
c. Will any pawn push cause my opponent great difficulty?
d. Is my king safe when I conduct an attack?
e. If I were to rearrange the board mentally, what position would I want to look like? How do I go about doing it?
f. If I exchange all my pieces (or mentally remove them from the board), can I win the endgame?
This sounds like a lot to take in but I am trying to do it. I still have problems with points 1(a), 1(e), 2(a), 2(b), 2(d).
And my position always turns up dreadful. Oh well, just practise harder.... I guess.