Charles Sanders Peirce gave the following advice for increasing the clarity of one's concepts:
Consider what effects that might conceivably have practical bearings you conceive the objects of your conception to have. Then, your conception of those effects is the whole of your conception of the object.
This is called the Pragmatic Maxim or the Maxim of Pragmatism and there came to be a school of philosophy founded on it. Variations on the same theme and a bit of exposition can be found here.
Mathematically speaking, this is a maximally general form of representation principle. A less comprehensive form of it leads to the principle of operational definition that began to exert some influence in science beginning most prominently with Percy Bridgman.