You can't do without evaluating the material balance.
You must know what the position is about.
- W-Wood. Gaining wood
It turns out that finding the squares you dominate is essential to understand any combination.
In many positions it is key to find the defenders, and the defenders of the defenders, since "removal of the guard" is the main issue in the position. You must be able to see the (chain of) guards.
If you focus on domination, it turns out that you will miss some important squares. Invasion square, attacking square and the like. Focal points comprise these squares.
When I use the mnemonic above, I usually am able to find the solution. Given the importance of domination, it is probably a good idea to isolate that as a separate exercise.
The other two counting methods, counting tempo's and counting the value of obligations, are not practical. Counting tempo's, or obligations, is in fact counting the amount of dominated pieces. You must learn to see the effect on tempo's of a move. That should be treated as an isolated exercise too. Counting tempi might be of help initially, but the sooner you change to seeing the effect of a move, the better. It is really move related. We must see whether moves are single tempo or duple tempo. After the exercise of seeing the effect of a move on the obligations has been fully mastered, we will have a look at the third counting method, counting the value of the obligations. Hopefully it isn't necessary by then any more.