It’s a habit. A habit of an undisciplined approach to solving your problems.
If you’re looking for something, then *look *for it. That means walking around slowly, looking directly at each thing and asking “Is this my missing whatever?” If not, move your gaze to the next thing. When you get to a table, look at each thing in turn in an organized fashion: left to right, top to bottom. And ask the whole question for each one. For each room search methodically from one side to the other. Don’t think things like “I know it’s not there; I never went there.” Instead go over *there *and actually look at everything one at a time.
What you’re really doing now is dashing around the house waving your face around while repeating to yourself “I don’t have time for this! I need to be going!” Either that or you’re trying to retrace your steps and remember when/where you last had the thing. Either way that approach is planning to fail. Why?
Because no part of your conscious process is actually looking at individual items and comparing them to the thing you want. Instead your mind is far from where you really are; you’re not in the here and now, you’re mentally elsewhere. It sounds faster your way. But as you’ve noticed, it simply doesn’t work.
Focus people; focus!