This year is nearly at the end and the stress I am seeing is mind-blowing. Why? You started your own business so you could set your own rules and work at your own pace. Have you succumbed to the pressure of letting your clients/customers set the pace of your business? With service businesses, the pre-holiday season is stressful as everyone wants everything done to make a good impression or have the time to enjoy their own time off. You may see this as an opportunity to make as much money as possible so you can take a break at the beginning of the year - that's okay. Just don't forget to breathe.
The added stress of meeting other peoples deadlines is adding stress to your business, your employees and your life. Is making more money for a short period of time worth it? So do you just forget about it? The answer is no. You have to get organised so you understand which deadlines are Urgent (like ATO deadlines) and which deadlines are Urgent to someone else but not life-threatening. Pick and choose which urgent jobs are achievable and which ones will cause your other customers to suffer more than the job is worth in the long run.
Take the example of the hairdresser. Most of their clients book in early and are satisfied they have their appointment at the time they want. What happens when the less-organised people want to get in for an appointment before the holidays? Does the hairdresser cram then in to accommodate them then upset their long term customers but not giving them the required time or making them wait unnecessarily? Does the hairdresser work longer hours and expect their staff to do this as well? Who benefits here? The person who shoves their way in should be happy as they have a booking but is normally not happy as they don't get the attention they want. The person who booked ahead is not happy and may not re-book. The staff are not happy as they have already been working longer hours. Is the business owner happy? Probably not as they are exhausted and have lost any extra income in overtime paid out to staff.
So what do you do? Perhaps let that last-minute customer go somewhere else for this appointment. Often the more booked you are, the more the client wants to get in with you anyway. You must be good! Its a risk you take for your health, the health of your staff and the longevity of your business.