Responding to email takes a lot of time and energy. If it's not done immediately, it might never get done. Make sure important emails get attended to by adding them to Tasks. In the upper left, click the Gmail drop-down menu to open your Tasks window. To add an email to Tasks, select it from the inbox or open it, then click the More tab at the top. Select Add to Tasks.
In your Tasks window, you'll now see a list of emails that need responding to. Click on the task to go directly to the thread without having to search for it!